Field Fun Friday

Male red squirrel killed by a bird of prey in Yukon during the breeding season in 2013. Photo by Jessica Haines

Male red squirrel killed by a bird of prey in Yukon during the breeding season in 2013. Photo by Jessica Haines

A male red squirrel killed by a bird of prey in the Yukon. He was found far from his territory during the breeding season, likely looking for breeding opportunities (ie. checking out nearby female squirrels). Thanks to the snow you can see the hole where the bird caught him, then bird tracks leading to the spot where he was eaten. We occasionally find red squirrels killed by predators and try to use evidence at the kill site to tell who did it. It’s not common that the tracks are so nicely laid out like this – this story was pretty clear. Goshawks and great-horned owls are the main avian predators of red squirrels in this part of the Yukon, while lynx is the top mammalian predator.

Post and photos by Jessica Haines, taken during her fieldwork with the Kluane Red Squirrel Project.