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The Red Squirrel Photos and Story by Larry Halverson

The bulk of a Red Squirrel’s winter food consists of conifer seeds.
Karan and I came across one of their dining tables in the forest. 

The place was littered with the central stalks and scales of Douglas fir cones. They extract the seed by chewing on the cone like we would a corn-on-the-cob, starting at the big end and discarding the scales as they come off. 

They spend much of the late summer and fall clipping cones off tree tops and storing them in large underground middens.
 
I remember one fall a squirrel had dropped cones all over our yard – so I racked them up into a wheel barrel,
The Red Squirrel couldn’t believe it’s eyes and was scolding me with it’s chatter,  chatter, chatter….
 
But it calmed down when I dumped them in a nice convenient spot under the tree and saved it all the work of gathering up the scattered cones.