Seasonal Backyard Science – Holes
Music; Ambience: bark peeling, footsteps in snow
Take a look at a dead tree and you’re bound to find a hole. And that hole has a history. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Mitchell: Beyond us, there’s a hickory tree, and about halfway up the hickory tree you’ll see a perfectly round, dark hole. In that hole there lives a gray squirrel. The hole was probably started off by a woodpecker, who also nests in holes, and they actually dig out the hole.
Naturalist John Hanson Mitchell is the author of a Field Guide to Your Own Backyard
Mitchell: A squirrel got in there later in its – in the hole’s history because something has chewed around – the woodpeckers make a, you know, quite a straight hole in, but somebody has widened that hole, and that would be the squirrel, who just gnawed a better entrance for itself and put its nest in there. The thing about squirrels is they have two nests, one in winter – they will go into holes in trees. And then in summer they make another nest, a big, leafy nest, you can see these great clumps of old twigs and grass and leaves, and that’s the summer nest of the gray squirrel. Yeah. This is my territory. This is, you know, foxes and squirrels and mice and rabbits. They all have territory. Well, this is my territory. I’m out here, I would say, every day. You know the best time, in fact, to come out into the woods and in your backyard is in terrible weather. It’s far more interesting and far more wild to come out here in rainstorms, snowstorms, and at night. There’s a wilder landscape right beyond your backdoor.
Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I’m Jim Metzner