Our native Western Gray Squirrel is the largest gray squirrel you’re likely to see at your nut box. This species of squirrel is listed as “sensitive” in Oregon and “threatened” in Washington.
Western Gray Squirrels do not hibernate in winter, relying on food gathered and stored in the fall, and the offerings of backyard squirrel feeders! They eat seeds, nuts, fungi, insects, acorns and berries.
They’re our largest tree squirrel, averaging a body length of twelve inches and tail length of and additional twelve. Often referred to as “silver gray” , white-tipped gray hairs along much of its body create a beautiful silvery appearance. Look for a white belly, large feet, pronounced reddish brown ears, and a long bushy tail.
Western Grays sleep in a nest at night and will remain there during periods of bad weather. They nest in a large tree, one that is dead or dying, an abandoned woodpecker cavity, or a squirrel nest box.
Listed as a “sensitive species” in Oregon and as “threatened” in Washington, Western Grays bear only one litter of young per year. This fact, along with competition with other species and the loss of our oak woodlands and older trees, are reasons they are in decline.
Want to encourage Western Grays? You can stock your nut box with the following foods that all squirrels love:
* Shelled Filberts—a locally-grown and nutritious favorite
* Squirrel’s Delight —an economical mix of peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds and corn kernels
* Premium Squirrel Blend —25% tree nuts, 25% whole peanuts, and 50% striped sunflower seeds
* Nut Mix—90% tree nuts (like cashews, pecans, walnuts, filberts and pistachios) and 10% peanuts
* Whole Peanuts—squirrels and jays both love peanuts!