At Woodruff Wood we love red squirrels (who doesn't?!) and feel extremely privledged to have a small population resident in our wood. So we'd like to share some of our photos, findings and observations with you. However, be warned, it's not all good news as the continual threat of grey squirrels moving into the wood means that our reds are at risk. Read on to find out more and to look at how you too can help protect red squirrels.
At Woodruff Wood squirrel feeders provide a vital source of additional food for our resident reds. The images below were taken with a wildlife camera and offer a fabulous insight into one of our red squirrels quest for a snack!
Supplementary feeding (in addition to all the natural food present) has been found to be of vital help to our local reds. We've found that their favourite foods are peanuts in shell, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts.
Feeders are cleaned and disinfected regularly. If there is a threat of grey squirrels coming to the feeders and passing on disease to the reds, we may remove them for a period of time.
Did you know that you can spot the difference between individual red squirrels?
Take a look at the following two images taken of the same feeder:
Both photos were taken with our wildlife camera and clearly show that at least two different individuals are using the same feeder.
There can also be many other more subtle differences between individuals - if you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to observe red squirrels, why not see if you can spot the differences between them?
Without going into too much detail, the grey squirrel is classified as an invasive species (it originates in North America) and can often outcompete the red squirrel for food and pass on a virus (known as squirrelpox) which is deadly to reds but which greys can tolerate.
In simple terms, grey squirrels pose a serious threat to the long term survival of our native red squirrels.
At Woodruff Wood, we have seen first hand the devastating consequences of grey squirrels upon our population of reds. In November 2014, a few greys were spotted nearby - these were controlled immediately but the damage was already done.Within a fortnight most if not all of our reds had suffered a nasty death from the squirrelpox virus (the symptoms look similar to a rabbit with myxomatosis - sores and scabs around the face and swollen eyes).
Currently we are glad to report that a handful of reds are resident in Woodruff Wood but they are thin on the ground, very elusive and still highly vulnerable to invasion by yet more greys.
Morpeth & District Red Squirrels (MAD RS) aims to protect and preserve native red squirrels within the environment in this area.
It is run entirely by volunteers carrying out a wide range of work - extra help is always appreciated!
Woodruff Wood,Longhirst, Morpeth, Northumberland
'Passionate about wildlife & firewood'
T: 07525 841361 (9am - 6pm)
Please feel free to contact us today for further information!
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European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
'Increasing Productivity of Woodruff Wood Woodfuel (Firewood)'
Woodruff Wood is grateful to have received funding for equipment and infrastructure to support us in the production of firewood