Weekend Showcase: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em, Jan. 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day
In today’s Weekend Showcase I want to take a moment to talk about the most significant holiday yet in this new year. It’s nothing less than National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
Yes, those little denizens of yard and forest have their own special day on Jan. 21.
The first Squirrel Appreciation Day was in 2001. A wildlife rehabilitation specialist in Asheville, N.C. was credited with creating it and encouraging folks to set out food and water for squirrels.
“We moved in about seven months ago and this is the first time I’ve had a fence and place to put a squirrel feeding station. So the squirrel picnic table was one of the first things to go up,” said Robbinsdale resident Megan Hanzel.
A squirrel’s nest is called a drey. If you see all black or all white squirrels they are typically grey squirrels with recessive color genes.
“So we can kind of put them in two categories tree squirrels and ground squirrels,” said Miranda Jones, naturalist with the Three Rivers Park District. “I think some of the more common ones that people know about are grey squirrels and red squirrels. They are very vocal. You can find those in the woods and they’re very fun to listen to. And then flying squirrels are really intriguing too. There’s two different kinds flying squirrels in Minnesota, northern flying squirrels and southern flying squirrels. And they are nocturnal so you see them mostly at night.”
No Shortage of Squirrel Entertainment
I found no shortage of squirrel lovers entertained by the little critters antics.
“He just jumps from tree to tree and then over here to this person’s house. He has a little hole there that I can see him. I have my little binoculars and I look and he kind of goes into a little hole there with something in his mouth and comes out again,” said Becky Widmer of Brooklyn Park.
“Well I think the people that love them love watching their behavior they have so many funny little mannerisms,” said Jones.
“They’re cute. they’re adorable,” said Nona Peters of Brooklyn Center.
“But then the people that hate them see them more as the pests. The ones that destroy their homes or eat all their bird seed,” said Jones.
“I could hear something running around 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning down in the basement. Went down there. Grabbed a bat. Went down there. There’s a squirrel running around, but he apparently got caught when I tried. I thought I had them out of the attic. And uh, no,” said Chris Hagge of Robbinsdale.
So love ’em or hate ’em, Thursday, Jan. 21, is their special day.
“We’ll have a little squirrel party I guess,” laughed Widmer.
“We’re going to celebrate that there. And we’ll hang out little squirrel stockings by the fireplace and things like that. And have a squirrel cake, and squirrel ice cream and little squirrel presents. So we’re ready for it,” said Joe Tanner of Brooklyn Park.