Our Nocturnal Neighbors
When Steve Leonard found a Northern flying squirrel outside the Range Light in the fall of 2012, it kicked off an exciting wildlife projects at The Ridges!
Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) are recognized by the Wisconsin DNR as Species of Special Concern and a Species of Greatest Conservation Need. Their habitat preference, distribution and local abundance is not well understood. The Ridges received a Citizen Based-Monitoring grant funding to commence a nest box monitoring project in April of 2013. With assistance from the Sectional Ecologist of the DNR and UW-Stevens Point wildlife staff, we designed a project to answer two questions; 1) are there Northern and/or Southern flying squirrels on the peninsula, and 2) is there a difference in micro-habitat selection based on forest type and site physiology.
Project Nuts and Bolts:
- Nest boxes* will be placed throughout The Ridges’ Living Laboratory, the Family Discovery Trail, and the Logan Creek property Ridges_NestBoxes_trailhead.1
- Volunteers assist in checking nest box activity at The Ridges or host a nest box at private property throughout Door County.
- Chris Anderson (at right) led volunteers through nest box construction and is applying for his Eagle Scout rank using the monitoring program as his project.
- Two undergraduate students presented on flying squirrel ecology and recent research on habitat characteristics of Southern flying squirrels at UW-Stevens Point during our volunteer training in September 2013.
*For box dimensions, see page 4 of Althoff, D. P., and P. S. Althoff. 2001. Monitoring southern flying squirrel populations with nest boxes. Ohio Journal of Science 101(2):2-11. Monitoring southern flying squirrel populations – Althoff and althoff 2001