As the winter snow melted from the roadsides one spring, I came upon the remnants of the cache of a red squirrel. Having read in wildlife books about this practice, it was exciting to see cobs of spruce cones heaped around the base of a maple, every one of them eaten to the core. So this was where my little friend had been dining all winter!
The most active and noisy of all the squirrels, the red squirrel, as seen in this wildlife painting, can cut as many as 100 cones an hour from a tree, and will store three to ten bushels in “pantries” for winter, carefully covering them up with leaves. Red squirrels, very similar in appearance to the one in the painting, have disappeared from the wildlife scene in many parts of Britain. An organization has been set up in South Scotland to preserve them.
Having my interest in this busy little creature piqued by coming upon the cache in the cold of winter, it was fun painting the red squirrel we photographed while vacationing in the Muskokas.