Dear Readers, no this isn’t some abstract work of art focussed around twigs, but there is a story attached to it, so let me start at the beginning. Yesterday I was peering out of the window when I noticed a pair of squirrels chasing one another round and round the whitebeam. I am pretty sure that at one point they stopped to have one of those ‘when a daddy squirrel loves a mummy squirrel very much’ moments. Then it was off for another chase.
Grey squirrels only breed twice a year, in late February/March, and then again in June/July. The gestation period is about six weeks. An average litter is about three, but a female can have up to nine youngsters, which she rears alone for about a month, before they leave the drey. And herein lays the problem. The female usually rears her young in the whitebeam- you might remember these short films of two youngsters that I took during the first lockdown in 2020.
This year, however, there’s a pair of magpies nesting right where the drey used to be (in fact, I think the birds might have used the drey as a starting point before adding twigs of their own). One of the squirrels actually entered what is now the nest from below, and was soundly chased off by a very cross magpie, who was sitting in the nest (though whether she is actually incubating eggs I cannot tell).