Who knew Red Squirrels could fly? Well, not really. But they are very proficient leapers! If you’ve ever seen them jump from tree to tree you can really appreciate their talent! Their bushy tail acts as a rudder, helping to control their flight and landing.
This guy was making repeated trips to my sunflower seed feeder; No doubt caching the seeds under the snow. Red Squirrels have been shown to have very good memories, which allow them to find the general location of their snow-buried caches and then a decent sense of smell pinpoints the hoard, allowing for a high recovery rate of stashed cones and seeds. Tunnels under the snow go from cache to cache to cache.
[CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE] This is a composite of NINE photos of my leaping squirrel. The distance was exaggerated in Photoshop, and the photos were compiled from many different jumps. But it gives you an idea of their perfect aerial form and sideways landing technique. You can also really see how they use their tails to control their flight position.
Canon 7D with Canon 70-200mm f4 lens at 200mm. Focus fixed. Hand-held. Manual Exposure: f4 at 1/2500 second and Auto-ISO.
(I hand-held so I could track the squirrel in “flight.” I used 1/2500 of a second to freeze the motion.)