On the morning of 18 September, Erika and I discovered the campus of St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. This spacious open area includes a system of storm ponds, ideal for birds and dragonflies. A Douglas Squirrel, also known as a Chickaree, greeted us at the edge of the visitor’s parking area.
We were unfamiliar with this species, found along the West Coast, from British Columbia to central California. Douglas Squirrels are closely related to the more widely distributed Red Squirrel. Burt and Grossenheider write, “does little if any harm; affords pleasure to campers and visitors of parks within its range.”
Douglas Squirrels prefer old growth or mature second-growth forests. The area around our parking lot contained large trees, and this environment apparently satisfied the squirrel's requirements. They mostly consume fir, spruce, and pine seeds.