January 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day

They scamper around our neighborhoods, hide in our trees, and steal seed from our bird feeders. Some people hate them; others love them. No matter how you feel about squirrels, January 21st has been set aside annually to honor them. The day’s creator, Christy Hargrove, is a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina.

Celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.

–Christy Hargrove, National Calendar Day

squirrelsWhen I first moved to Lincoln, about the only wildlife I saw from my apartment was birds and squirrels, and I became enamored with both. The birds made me smile with their antics in my bird bath, and the squirrels made me laugh with their rough and tumble scuffles. For a long time, I spent equal amount of time reading about and observing these backyard creatures. I also regularly put out seed for the birds and corn cobs for the squirrels

In the 1850’s and 60’s, the release of squirrels in a few parks by city officials brought great pleasure to people and the idea spread. Cities started planting nut-bearing trees, so that the squirrels would have their own food. Feeding the squirrels became a past time too, and was eventually seen by naturalists and conservationists as a way to help people learn how to better treat animals.

For this Squirrel Appreciation Day, we’re hoping to showcase the critters we essentially chose to keep us company in urban settings. Let’s celebrate their acrobatic ability, their role in connecting people to nature, and how they can amuse us.

–Danielle Brigada, National Wildlife Federation

On its website, the National Wildlife Federation offers specific ways to celebrate squirrels. A few light-hearted examples include:

    • Play Squirrel Games: From the NWF website, download Squirrel vs. Birdfeeder for your iPhone. It’s a free and fun game where you are the squirrel trying to get to a bird feeder. Are you nuts for words? NWF has a Nutty Word Find that will hopefully amuse you. You can also enter NWF’s caption contest. (National Wildlife Federation)
    • Share Your Squirrel Story: Use the #squirrelday hashtag or visit NWF’s Facebook page and they just might add your photos to their Scuridae album!
    • Get Your Revenge: Squirrels are difficult to outwit and so you know they’re going to get to your birdfeeder somehow. Why not increase their entertainment value by enrolling them in the Animal Olympics by creating an obstacle course? Need ideas? Check out this video:

A few more serious examples include:

  • Feed Squirrels:  Put out dried field corn, smear peanut butter on a pinecone, or scatter chunks of stale bread in the yard.
  • Give Squirrels a Home: Participate in NWF’s Trees for Wildlife program by donating or applying for trees to plant.
  • Garden for Wildlife: Learn more how to certify your yard and create a space for wild animals including squirrels!

Other Squirrel Stuff

10 Nutty Facts About Squirrels

17 Amusing Squirrel Photos

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