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"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
Helen Hunt Jackson, A Calendar of Sonnet's: February
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News Round Up 235

pridepocpridepoc Posts: 200 ✭✭✭


  • filauziofilauzio Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The major problem with red squirrels, in my opinion, is their shyness.
    The fact that up to 5,000 volunteers are being recruited to help protect them, might lead to two consequences which could get things worse:
    such flood of inexperienced people could drive the squirrels much more to deepen themselves into their trunk's holes.
    On the other hand, that stout, showy American grey squirrels might be encouraged to swarm and star in the spot, and to pose for the myriad of cameras' shots.
    Who ever would miss a selfie with Prince Charles, after all ?
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 29,747 mod
    I don't think swans are that stupid either @amatsuscribbler.

    I used to see red squirrels in the forest near my home when I was a kid. I remember being told that the grey squirrels 'were killing the red squirrels' but thought this was only because the less timid greys were eating all the food. I didn't realise there was more to it than just that until I read this:

    'The eastern grey squirrel carries a disease, the squirrel parapoxvirus, that does not appear to affect their health but will often kill the red squirrel...The eastern grey squirrel can digest acorns, while the red squirrel cannot. When the red squirrel is put under pressure, it will not breed as often.'

    Like you say @filauzio, if there are too many people invading the privacy of red squirrels, I'm sure this won't help.


    Grey squirrels are described as an invasive species (they are American immigrants!) Grey squirrels are regarded as almost a pest, cute though they might appear. They can do a lot of damage by tearing at the tree bark and eating the soft tissue underneath. Sycamore and beech tree suffer the most damage.

  • filauziofilauzio Posts: 1,679 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was reading the way by which red squirrels mate, @mheredge, and it occurred to me that maybe the grey squirrels could overtake and overwhelm the formers, even in such pleasing affair.
    Among red squirrels, the male chases the female for up to a hour, better saying a group of feverishly spurred rodents chase the female until she complies to one of those blood-shot carroty runners: the larger one.
    Then, since the grey squirrels are larger and can weigh till over twofold the red ones, I'm afraid the grey can win hands down.
    Nevertheless, were I the red squirrel female swaying on the horns of a dilemma, I would have no doubts: what ever better than choosing a colourful ear-tuft provided guy, instead of merely contenting yourself with such smog-coloured acorns-eater, whose well trimmed ears absolutely don't make up for its lacking of fascination ?
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
This discussion has been closed.