Whiskers has ESP...
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Today I learned some new and very interesting information about the North American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) ,that blew me away! Here is the gist of it:|
Biologists(1) have discovered that these furry critters can anticipate when evergreens will produce bumper crops of seeds, and they respond with larger than usual litters. Keep in mind that baby squirrels are not born "next day"...
Typically, spruce and pine trees use a boom-and-bust strategy in their seed production to counter the big appetite of squirrels.
In lean years trees starve squirrels so that when larger seed crops are produced randomly, there are < from the trees' poit of view, hopefully > fewer squirrels around to eat up all the future seedlings.
Monitoring red squirrels in the Yukon, near Kluane National Park , has led to very surprising results. Months before a big cone season started, squirrels went into a reproductive frenzy!!!!!!! This pattern was seen again in 1993, 1998 as well as more recently in 2005.
The information comes from a recent article in the journal Science Lead author Stan Boutin, a University of Alberta biologist, said: "We usually predict that animals will just track resources and respond at a later date, so this is very surprising,"
and "Lots of animals breed well ahead of the spring flush when babies are born, and they can do that each year because temperature and daylight changes are such good predictors of upcoming changes,"...
"It's a little bit tougher when things are unpredictable like seed production years, but the squirrels obviously figured out a cue."
Squirrels also take quite a chance, he said, because they end up having their offspring during seasons with no resources in order to outwit the trees' swamp-and-starve mechanism.
There's no danger that the squirrels will wipe the trees out, he said. Lots of seed still escapes to produce young seedlings.
Well........ there you have it! For more info, google for "journal Science squirrels Boutin" < without the quotes of course >. Or buy a copy of the Dec 2006 issue of Science.
In this shot my lil friend "Whiskers" was cruisin' my collection of lobstertraps... The traps and ropes, likely provide an environ that is fun to play in... for some creatures... I doubt that it will influence the reproductive results for "Whiskers".
In any case I enjoy the company of these lil squirrels! Especially when they are not scolding but allow for a cameo!
PS Photo cropped to be "less square".
PSS Another busy specimen
1) Anticipatory Reproduction and Population Growth in Seed Predators
Stan Boutin,1* Lucas A. Wauters,2 Andrew G. McAdam,3 Murray M. Humphries,4 Guido Tosi,2 André A. Dhondt5,6
Adanac, mlines, Alex99, horia, coasties, jhm, bobair has marked this note useful
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- [2006-12-29 1:50]
great shot. nice focus and good composition.
- [2006-12-29 3:22]
Hope you are well stuffed from Christmas. Thanks for the great note and capture. Whiskers looks to be sunning on the old traps, out here our squirrels don't smell like fish, but you would remember that. Thanks for sharing Jay.
- [2006-12-29 4:31]
Hi Jay. Wonderful close up of this furry creature. We don't have them here in Australia that i know of. Good clarity and colours. Delightful. Murray.
- [2006-12-29 5:46]
What a nice little squirrel and its environment are captured. Tremendous at its impressiveness lighting, excellent details, expressive distance of shooting and well seen BG. Superb done and my best regards,
- [2006-12-29 5:49]
What a cute little fellow :)
Mr. Whiskers looks great here in your picture; the POV is excellent, as well the pose he was captures in.
The details are nice, the lighting exceptional and the composition great.
I also like the interesting note...some very curious fact :)
Very well done!
bravo and TFS
- [2006-12-29 6:47]
Toujour intéressant de voir ce petit spécimen.
Merci pour le partage et Bonne année à vous et vos proche.
- [2006-12-29 10:23]
Hoi ,It's a beauty shot lovely beast , Good pose details colours light good pov ,tfs Good Weekend ,Teunie ,and good 2007 .
Lovely shot. Good clarity and sharpness. Cute little guy! Best wishes for 2007 :-)
- [2006-12-29 21:56]
A nice capture of this little red squirrel.I like the pose.Good DOF with good detail and nice natural colours.Well composed with excellent notes.TFS
A nice shot of a "cute" visitor!
Interesting info re the "swamp and starve"
theory of squirrel/tree behavior.....
I liked the inclusion of the wee bit of lobster trap, as well as the very sharp
guard hairs on the squirrel's tail and body.
He's sharply in focus, while the BG does what it does best...........fade out.....
when NOT needed.
Thanks for the great shot!!!
- [2007-01-15 2:08]
After your mail I found this wonderful red Squirrel, I find these the best of the two, great close up of this furry creature. We seen the same here now in our forests, but fighting against the European Squirrels, very well done!
I saw all your picture.
no way, my eyes follow only this lovely squirrel.
so whiskers was kidnapped on you and put up else where on the net with out his or your permission,well I hope whiskers scratched the culprit good and messed up his keyboard(wink wink).For the life of me I don't know how I missed this little guy but he looks nice and your capture does him justice.You have a warm side light on his fur and good details overall which bring this fellow to life.Thanks for this one and the accompanying notes all are well done. Bob