Delilah has had her kittens!
Good news! After talking with someone from the Red Squirrel Trust who knows all about squirrels, it seems that Delilah has had her kittens already. Apparently, once the teats show, that is a sign that she has given birth. I knew her tummy had got a little smaller but she still has a fat-ish tummy and that, I’ve just learnt, is fat stores to help her produce milk for her kittens. So, going through all my photos I have of Delilah from when she last had a very fat tummy to when it was less fat and when she started to show her teats, I have worked out that she gave birth to her kittens sometime between 25th March and 27th March. Seeing that the 26th was a Mother’s Day, I think it only fitting that I choose that day for the birthday of her babies.
(By the way, if you click on most of the photos in my blog from now on, they should open as a separate page, enlarged)
Now, all there is to do is to find out which drey or den she is using as a nest. I think I may have found the place. I was in the hide this morning before dawn (5:25am to be exact) and waited until 6:50 am when I was just about to give up and go in for a well-earned cuppa, when I heard rustling from behind the hide and her little chittering and there, right under the hide window not more than three feet from my face, was Delilah. Funny, I have seen literally hundreds of photos and videos of her and stood in the woods and watched her running around but to see her so close never ceases to amaze me. They really are such small and delicate creatures and their coats are so silky soft. She stayed around the hide picking up nuts that I had been scattering around for her and Nibbles, for about twenty minutes, then when she bounced off to bury one, I took the chance to leave the hide and go and sit on a log bench in the woods to watch her. After a few more buried nuts, Delilah scampered off to the linden drey. She was there for a minute or two before coming back out. I am assuming that’s where she has her nest. Her kittens will stay in the drey for about five to six weeks before they come out and follow their Mum around. My good friend and neighbour most likely has a drey or two in her place, which is full of trees and wild places and is a haven for wildlife and both Nibbles and Delilah visit both our places on a daily basis, so we are pretty certain that if Delilah’s drey isn’t here then it must be at her place. It’s just a case of being patient and watching.
This linden tree has been used by many squirrels over the past twenty years. I have seen countless squirrels rushing inside over the years. The entrances to all the dreys have been on the driveway side but they have made their dreys around the field side, which is surprisingly high up off the ground, as the field you see on the left is about five feet below the ground level of the drive.
One last photo of Delilah…