Today is National Squirrel Appreciation Day, and we’ve always enjoyed watching how these clever creatures adapt to life in the city. We’d been planning to focus only on celebrating all the wonderfulness of squirrels – but then a snowy owl made a surprise appearance around Union Station – and while owls are enemies of squirrels, we are nonetheless forcing the squirrels to share this post with the snowy owl.
So read on for the squirrel goodness, with some snowy owl magic at the end.
Squirrels in the city
Squirrels manage to walk across and sit on all sorts of things.
With four digits on their fore limbs, the squirrels are adept at holding their food to eat.
Of course they usually eat nuts, but sometimes they find other things to eat.
Squirrels in the snow
Squirrels are typically born in litters of two to four, and the babies stay in the nest (usually in a tree hollow) for about three months.
Squirrels ready for their close-ups
The albino squirrels
We only get to see albino squirrels occasionally, so it’s a real thrill to spot one.
The snowy owl
Snowy owls are a rarity in D.C. – the last one was seen here in 2014, before this new one came to D.C. last week to hang around Union Station and the nearby areas. She’s a young female, and the on-lookers have named her Duchess.
Snowy owls breed in the arctic tundra, and migrate a bit south during the winter, but usually not further south than the Great Lakes. In years where food (lemmings) is more plentiful, the snowy owl population expands and the chances of a few going further south increases. There are estimated to be 30,000 snowy owls, and they are classified as vulnerable to extinction.