Southern Flying Shiz Tzus
My dogs used to be normal ... at least until the flyers arrived. Now, they scarf up nuts
off the floor like hoarding squirrels. They eat unshelled peanuts whole, try hard to crack open fallen pecans and run off
with dropped chestnuts. Isn't it enough that the furballs hide nuts in my printer, behind any object and inside my clothing
... while I'm wearing it! Now, the puppies are burying pecans under my pillow and think they're hidden when they can nose
one under resting legs.
Last night I saw one of the puppies with something that needed investigating. It turned out to be
an empty softgel capsule that had contained flaxseed oil. My mind now flashed back to the flyers nightly romp. I has seen
Mishi hanging on the blind eating at something. I assumed it was a recovered nut of some kind ... they are stored all over
I have a poor sense of smell, but there was the decided odor of garlic in the room that night and especially
on the flyers. It dawned on me that Mishi (the wanna be ground squirrel) must have found a garlic oil softgel during her nightly
inspection of the bathroom. I had seen Chuck sharing her find on the blind.
So now it seems that the little ones
may have consumed 1000 mg of flaxseed oil and 3 mg of pure garlic oil or maybe shared the flaxseed with a puppy. Any way,
all three are alive and well today and in good stead with Andrew Weil. No kisses for Chuck and Mishi though. LOL
2-27 to 2-29-04
I accompanied Chuck and Mishi to the Flyer Festival
in Alabama. Leah accompanied Faun and rode with us. The ALA Festival was a spin off of the Fleming Island Flyer Festival held
last August. Here is the Festival agenda and reports on the presentations:
National Flying Squirrel Festival
February 27- 29 2004
Held at the Dixon Forestry Summer School Campus of the Auburn
University School of Forestry and Wildlife Science, the National Flying Squirrel Association was formed the first night. Gail
& Tom Savage hosted the event in which 35 attended: 21 HOFs, three speakers, two speaker assistants and nine
non-HOFs and 14 flyers.
4 PM Sign in & pick up
4-6 PM Get Together to show off our
Dinner (no furball babies)
7- 8 PM Formation of The National Flying Squirrel
8:00 Breakfast & Late
of Southern Flying Squirrels
Leah Solliday, HOF
with Noah's Ark Wildlife Rescue
and Rehabilitation in St. Augustine, FL
Flying Squirrels in their Natural
Environment: An Ecologist's Bag of Tricks
Thomas Risch, Ph.D.
of Wildlife Ecology
Department of Biological Sciences
Arkansas State University,
I'm going to
try and summarize Tom's presentation from memory.
Tom has been doing his research for six years and he has captured and tagged thousands of flyers. The captured
flyers were tagged with those computer chips after being examined, weighed, sexed, etc. His study looks at feeding behaviors.
He put out feeding stations baited with unshelled pecans. When a flyer entered the station, its chip was scanned so it was
known which flyer fed where. The results I remember include:
1. A flyer densities are as high as three per acre.
2. Males tend to roam the range and females stay closer to "home."
3. In scarce food years, more male pups are produced.
4. In abundant food years, more female pups are produced.
5. The youngest birth mother was FOUR months old!
6. Best height for nest/feeding boxes was 15 feet.
11:15 Food Hoarding and Group Nesting
in Southern Flying Squirrels
Mike Winterrowd, PhD.
Post Doctoral Fellow
Mike looked at hoarding behavior and recovery of stashed nuts. He wanted to see if flyers recovered
nuts randomly, by smell or from memory.
1. He set up a sand box and the flyers buried nuts. They would dig up a certain percentage.
2. He then moved their buried nuts a few centimeters and they recovered fewer.
3. He made the nuts unsmellable and repeated the above with the same results.
4. He added landmarks to the sandbox i.e. bricks and the recovered rate was the highest.
was that flyers use memory in recovery process.
1:00 Tour of the Campus
and Walk in the Woods
Tom Savage: History of land and Dixon family
Visit the house and artifacts inside
3:00 "Ultrasound in Southern Flying Squirrels:
What is all the chatter about?"
Dept. of Biological Sciences
(Michelle will be bringing her ultrasound equipment)
1. Flying squirrels frequently use ultrasound
(20 to approx. 27 kHz)
2. Juveniles seem to take advantage of ultrasonic calls more frequently than adults (Suggests it
is being used as communication between siblings and mother squirrel)
3. Adult males use ultrasound (suggests that it is NOT just
communication between mother and offspring).
Could be for communication between males and females during breeding season? More work needed at this point, but an interesting
& new finding.
4. No evidence of ultrasound being used as form of echolocation (to navigate during glides or searching
for food). Much more work will be done with this. Not convinced this early in the process that they aren't using echolocation...stay
5. Spectrograms of calls are in waves ranging from sonic to ultrasonic (15 to 27 kHz), and generally
last for 3 to 6 seconds.
More on number 4 - Echolocation: Michelle explained to us that she did not have any obstacles
set up within the test room at this early stage. So, the flyers would not necessarily need to use echolocation for navigational
purposes in that room. She will be doing further studies on this aspect wherein various obstacles will be introduced. Flyers
have panoramic vision as opposed to binocular vision. With panoramic vision, there is very little depth perception, and that,
added to the fact that flyers must navigate in the darkness through trees and are known to employ ultrasonic communication,
indicates to her the strong possibility of the use of echolocation.
Flyer swap & Silent Auction
5:00 Social Hour with dips, cheese and crackers,
wine and beer (BYOB)
6:00 Dinner: Dramatic
reading by Sara Dixon ;-)
8:00 ish: Camp fire with roasting marshmallows
**Sun. Feb. 29**
8:00 Breakfast (only meal today)
9:00 Round Table Discussion of Hobby Flyer Breeding and Finding Good Homes
for the Pups
10:00 Presentation of Certificates
Check out and leave
Cost of the weekend (Fri. dinner through Sun. breakfast) for five meals, two snacks
and room for one person for two nights: $112.00. Conference registration fee was $2.00 each.
NFSA Awards Andulusia
Tamest... Joan's Chuck (This
year Chuck didn't bite anyone. Last festival he got "Most Independent" because he bit the most people) Go figure ;-)
Oldest ... Sylvia & Bill's Rocky (3 years 4 months)
Smallest ... Leah's Faun
... Sara & Jerry's Betty
Shiniest ... Gail & Tom's Mr. Whiskers
Shyest ... Judy & Lance's Spooky Little
Hermit, the Brown Recluse (no one is really sure about this as none of us ever saw him, but someone said they thought
they'd seen a nose)
Most Colorful ... Joan's Mishi (she was molting;-)
Traveled the Furthest ... Judy & Lance's
Spooky (510.9 miles)
to the 8th Annual Azalea Days
Chuck decided to accept Benjamin's invitation to visit him and big sister Sophie
at Uncle David's and Aunt Mary Jane's house in Palatka. Of course Mommy had to drive and she invited Faun's Leah and Faun
brought along his baby sister who is soon to own Patrick. There are lots of wild flyers in Benjamin's backyard and a tour
was made to look at the nest boxes Uncle David had installed in almost every tree. There is even a feeding station with vitamin
water provided fresh daily. WHAT A PLACE TO LIVE!
There is a resident Florida cooter turtle who has her own
pool on the back porch. She was the size of a quarter when she was found in the drive way 12 years ago. She is a BIG girl
now! She loves to swim in the family swimming pool too. She was sunning on the porch on this day with big goldfish swimming
around her on her sunning rock. Chuck did not care to take a dip with her.
The HOFs went out to lunch and Uncle
David had the nerve to keep poking Benjamin back down his shirt everytime he came up to take a peek at what was happening.
Chuck just wanted to sleep as his Mommy just keeps pulling him out to show people and interrupting his nap time.
After lunch, the HOFs decided to go to the Ravine Gardens State Park for the arts and crafts show and the hayride through
the gardens with azaleas in full bloom. By the way, Benjamin was born in this park and rescued by a ranger who got him to
Uncle David who raised him to be the fine young man he is.
The HOFs kept pulling the poor flyers out and taking
pictures or showing them off to people ... whether they wanted to see them or now. LOL One lady started following us around
looking at us as if we were very suspicious characters. I think it was because Leah kept whipping out a syringe full of Esbilac
and feeding the baby. Once she saw we weren't selling anything funny, she stopped following us.
Chuck got totally
embarrassed when Mommy pulled him out, posed him beside an azalea bush and exposed his manly parts to the world. You will
notice in Leah's pictures that his ears are back and flat ... he was not happy. But, by in large ... everyone had fun, even
Chuck and Mishi slept while the home decorating team (me) from "While You Sleep" went to work
and redid the exterior of their bed room. The bedroom, a parakeet nest box, is mounted on the outside of the cage. I had found
a lovely piece of flat wood while walking the puppies in the park. It had a knot hole the size of the nest box opening. Initially,
I scrapped the wood with a wire brush to remove debris and hosed it down well to remove whatever was left. It was air dried
for a couple of days. A few cracks were closed with non toxic wood putty with a good matching color. I sawed it down to size,
drilled a hole for the entrance dowel and slide it into place ... PERFECT FIT! Now Chuck will leave it alone,
but Mishi may chew it up tonight. LOL
I've gotten tired of straightening pictures on the wall, picking
up knocked over small objects and otherwise housekeeping after the flyers have been out for an evening romp. my friend Maggie
was visiting from Ohio and told me about museum putty that holds pictures and objects in place. It doesn't hurt walls, paint
or surfaces and is removable and nontoxic.
DAP makes a form ... Fun Tak ... that is available at Lowe's. I bought
two packs of this reusable adhesive and tacked down everything in my bedroom. Mishi hates it ... she delights in knocking
over everything she can and especially putting every picture frame at an odd angle. She's so mad she has taken up chewing
on the frames while I yell "NO" and chase her off walls.
I may have chew up frames, but they sure hang on the walls straight.