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A Vermonter’s View of Squirrels in Davidson

by | Dec 8, 2021

Sitting on my back porch, I have come to enjoy the squirrels who romp in my backyard. Squirrels in Davidson are quite different from our Vermont squirrels. “How so?” you ask? Well, in Vermont, we have very aggressive red squirrels that dominate the gray squirrels; also, squirrels in Vermont have one driving force to their lives. That being, how to survive a Vermont winter. Spring through summer is spent raising their brood. Then comes the hard work. Cooler nights, that begin in August, signal the frantic time in their lives. They begin to store nuts in various sizes in various places and with varying speed.

Summers in Vermont find me often at my booth (actually an old horse stall) in a barn in Isle La Motte, Vermont where I sell crafts, cards, jewelry, paintings, and clothing I create. If it is going to be a cold winter (and believe me, the squirrels know), they go into overdrive to stockpile nuts for their offspring who will be born February to April and from August to September. As I pack up my wares in mid-September, I often find nuts in apron pockets, behind cards, and in display boxes. Like the chipmunks that begin to rearrange the jewelry displays and sometimes will even haul a glittery earring back to their hidey hole, Vermont squirrels work with gusto. They are secretive and I seldom catch them in my sight.

Squirrel nests are easy to spot as they resemble large balls high up in the trees. They are constructed of woven twigs that form a basket. These are covered with leaves and moss. After a second layer of woven twigs, they fill in the gaps with more leaves or soft material. The purpose of the nest is to insulate them from the cold of winter. A squirrel may even have more than one nest. If you see a dray, look for others close by. Most squirrels will hibernate for a portion of the winter.

Squirrels in Davidson are hysterical to watch. They know how to play. They remind me of kids beginning to first play soccer, running this way and that for pure joy and never realizing what the object is other than to have fun. They will climb up my sunflower spinner pole, and when they reach the top, will get a joy ride as their weight gets the spinner spinning and they are catapulted off. I hear the leaves and undergrowth rattling and soon see two or three squirrels romping around playing tag. They fly like monkeys from branch to branch in the trees. They need not hide nuts in great quantities because Pines residents provide an ample supply of bird seed. If the feeder perches are full, they can be seen gorging themselves under the feeders, even on the coldest of days.

I have spotted few large nests in Davidson. I’m guessing their nests are smaller as their homes don’t need as much insulation as in Vermont. They might find shelter in crevices or holes in trees that I have not discovered. I wonder if they actually hibernate or just hang out occasionally in their nests?

I never tire of watching furry and bushy-tailed squirrels. Occasionally, in Vermont they take to chewing on our homes, but here in North Carolina they have chewed the fence railings at our cottage. One brave squirrel even chewed the gutter at 4 p.m. every day for months, a small price to pay for hours of enjoyment in my backyard in Davidson.

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson and her husband have recently moved from Vermont to The Pines. She earned her BS degree from Carroll University. She was a teacher until retirement, once owned a quilt shop, and currently calls herself a fiber artist. Ginger enjoys writing and has authored four books. She is the proud grandma to five grandchildren. She is happy to now call Davidson her home.

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