Southern flying squirrels in New Jersey

It looks like 2017 has been an excellent year for all sciurids in New York area, not just woodchucks and chipmunks. I spent last night spotlighting in Pine Barrens and saw 5 southern flying squirrels at two locations. Let me know if you need directions.


  • geomalia

    When I lived in Princeton, I often observed Southern Flying Squirrels in the Princeton Institute Woods and along the D&R Canal.

    This also seems to be a very good year for them further north. Last weekend, they were ubiquitous at Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts. I lost track of the count after about 40 in three hours on Friday evening (most were detected by sound) .

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I wonder why northern f. s. never occurs at such densities. Or does it?

    • Venkat Sankar

      Not sure… Perhaps NFS does occur in high densities at some sites, they probably have never been researched. I saw 2 NFS and heard a third animal in 2 hours in old growth White Fir/Douglas Fir forest at Groves Prairie (Humboldt County, CA); I suspect the density is quite high there, for example.

      A tip for detecting NFS – they often vocalize if you play owl calls. We had them respond to Western Screech Owl and Flammulated Owl calls.

    • geomalia

      This is just speculation as I haven’t seen Northern Flying Squirrel yet, but perhaps it is related to diet. SFS relies heavily on acorns, so it could occur at very high densities when the acorn crop is good. On the other hand, the dietary staples of NFS are more stable year-to-year (fungi and lichens). Also, I’ve read that NFS is much less vocal, so its apparent density would be lower than the very vocal SFS.

      I’d consider three SFS in two hours to be very low density, compared to my detection rate at Quabbin this year. It seems to be a local phenomenon, as I only detect a couple SFS per hour at a different site about an hour away in Rhode Island.

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