In fact, come Jan. 21 — Squirrel Appreciation Day — they are probably running low on food. They could use a paw up. That’s exactly what Richard “Thor” Thorington — the Smithsonian’s squirrel expert — is going to give them.
“We’re going to celebrate tomorrow,” he told me.
How? “By putting out extra sunflower seeds.”
The scientist said squirrel behavior can change during the chilly months of winter. Many squirrels will move out of their leaf nests — those balls you see high in the branches — and try to find a hollowed-out tree.
There are more than 280 species of squirrels — from tiny pygmy squirrels to giant flying squirrels — so there are a lot of squirrels to appreciate. Then there are squirrels like this one, rescued by a Louisiana artist and forced to earn its keep by churning out hotel room art:
Last year for Squirrel Appreciation Day the students of Wichita State University put out extra food for their campus squirrels. No word yet on whether Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. — whose mascot is Gladys the Fighting Squirrel — is doing anything special on Saturday. The National Wildlife Federation suggests various ways you can celebrate, from feeding them to shooting them — with a camera!
Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day. May you find yourself surrounded by nuts.
How will you celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll join you.