Our Fine Furry Friends

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“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature,
which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Be Still and They Will Come

If one treads softly or sits quietly in the woods, it isn’t long before its inhabitants will come out to play. Some of our favourite woodland and wetland residents are rodents. My partner and I have a special fondness for these furry critters, and we take great delight in spotting even the smallest mouse.

Here are some of the cute, furry friends that we met on our nature walks this summer. All photographs taken by my partner—the guy who hogs the long lens!

Above:  A Least Chipmunk stops to smell the flowers near Lusk Creek, in Kananaskis Country, Alberta.

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This handsome fellow is a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. Although apparently common here on the Canadian prairies, this is the first time we’ve ever seen one. Unlike Richardson Ground Squirrels, which live in large colonies, these guys live relatively solitary lives. Seen at Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area, Alberta.

 

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Ever inquisitive, Red Squirrels like to investigate new things. They always make us laugh. This guy came scampering down the tree branch to see what we were up to. Seen at Bebo Grove, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary.

 

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A very young muskrat kit swims in the lagoon at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Calgary.

 

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A Richardson Ground Squirrel sends out a warning whistle to the other ground squirrels in the colony; Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary.

 

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Red Squirrels have incredibly dexterous front paws. They are always entertaining to watch, and we never tire of seeing one. We found this guy enjoying a fresh, green pine cone in Bebo Grove, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary.

 

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The family of beavers that live at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary are very active in the evenings, constantly working on their dam, gathering food or eating. Here, a beaver dines on a tender, young Saskatoon Berry bush branch that it had just cut down and hauled into the water.

 

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A Meadow Vole gathers tiny grass seedheads for its winter cache. Voles are so good at storing seeds for the winter that, in past times, Native peoples would loot their caches for the gold mines of edible seeds. We heard this vole rustling through the grass at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Calgary.

 

Image Credits:

All photos taken by my partner; © 2016 madlyinlovewithlife

23 thoughts on “Our Fine Furry Friends

  1. This post made me smile ~ such a perfect shot of our small friends in the wild that leave us enchanted…and in addition to the great photos, your writing to introduce their habits/life makes this post even better :-) Wishing you a great summer Jeannie!

  2. 13-lined ground squirrels are very common here in Illinois, but hard to see unless you go to Brookfield Zoo (aka Chicago Zoological Park) They zip all over the park, picking up morsels of popcorn and other treats. So cute!

    • Hello Lis! The 13-Lined Ground Squirrel is definitely not a common sight. They must be very wary of humans. I guess that’s why we’ve never seen one before. We had no idea they even existed until we spotted this handsome fellow (we didn’t know what it was until we looked it up). I’m sure they must be entertaining to watch at the zoo. Wishing you a great week ahead! :))

  3. Incredible photos and captures Jeannie — kudos to your partner. The vole is super impressive, for they are so rarely seen outside of their holes. The beaver, oh, wow. That lovely 13 lined gr. sq. is new to me. And a young muskrat! Each photo is a masterpiece. And wonderful to see the red squirrel with his dexterous paws (great words) working away. Thanks for taking us with you to celebrate these wonderful creatures.

    • Thank you, Jet. This was the first time we actually spotted our little Meadow Vole. We’d heard him scurrying beneath the grass several times but we could never catch sight of him. This time he was so intent on gathering seeds, he didn’t seem to be too bothered with us standing close enough to enjoy him and take a few photos. We were delighted! I’m glad you got to see the Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. That was a first for us too! :))

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