Cavity Nest Materials of Northern Flying Squirrels, Glaucomys sabrinus, and North American Red Squirrels, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, in a Secondary Hardwood Forest of Southern Ontario

Jesse E. H. Patterson, Stephen J. Patterson, Ray J. Malcolm


Through deployment of artificial nest boxes, we examined the composition of cavity nest materials used by Northern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and North American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in a secondary hardwood forest of southern Ontario, Canada. We collected 32 nests of known species association and found that 85.7% of G. sabrinus nests and 77.8% of T. hudsonicus nests were constructed almost entirely of shredded bark from Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis). Mean nest depth across all samples was 12.2 cm and showed no significant difference between species or between spring and summer nests. We review the antiparasitic properties of T. occidentalis and suggest that the use of shredded cedar bark by G. sabrinus and T. hudsonicus to line nest cavities may be a behavioural adaptation, which reduces ectoparasite loads in the nest environment.


Northern Flying Squirrel; Glaucomys sabrinus; North American Red Squirrel; Tamiasciurus hudsonicus; ectoparasites; nest box; nest material; nest-protection hypothesis; thermoregulation; Eastern White Cedar; Thuja occidentalis; Ontario

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