Red Squirrel Keeping an Eye on Our Red Squirrels
 

Activity Monitoring

We monitor Red Squirrel activity at our Squirrel Feeder and publish statistics of various aspects of this activity as Charts on this Website.

Click on the menu links above to view Charts for the period of interest.

Red Squirrel Activity is recorded by counting the number of times the lid of the Squirrel Feeder has been lifted by a Red Squirrel, or other animal (eg. pesky jackdaws) and recording it using a datalogger.  There is a radio data link between the feeder and the datalogger.

The Squirrel Feeder consists of a cedarwood box with a hinged lid and a transparent plastic front, and is kept filled with nuts.  There is a small platform in front for the squirrels to stand on.  This arrangement is more-or-less 'Bird Proof'.  The squirrels lift the lid with their heads and reach inside to retrieve the food.  An actuator connects the lid to a microswitch that closes an electrical contact when the lid is raised.

In the charts, this activity is usually labelled Nuts, but this is only an approximation, due to the following factors :-

  • When squirrels are taking nuts from the feeder to bury, they spend longer in the box, and gather more than one nut in their mouths.
  • Squirrels that are new to the feeder sometimes lift the lid a few times before gaining enough confidence to dive in.
  • Sometimes a squirrel will dive right inside the box and stay there feeding for some time.
  • Some jackdaws learn how to operate the squirrel feeder, but by fitting a device to restrict the opening, this has prevented them getting at the food (except when the feeder is very full) although they still try.
  • Other animals could possibly use the squirrel feeder, but I'm not aware of any.  The Webcam monitoring software takes a 'snap' every time a large movement is detected, and these will be examined to see who has been visiting.  A mouse was recorded entering the feeder at night, but this was by squeezing through the gap between the lid and the transparent front.  This gap has now been reduced.

Recent Activity

 today's figures  

Squirrel Feeder

The Big Picture - Click for full-size image

The above image shows the Squirrel Feeder we are monitoring.  Click it for a full-size image.

Sponsor

These charts are automatically posted to the Website by XLeMs software.  This software and the datalogger were designed by SHM Communications Ltd for use in Energy Monitoring systems, but they work very well for wildlife monitoring too.

 

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