Pitmedden help for red squirrels

The feeder boxes will help establish the number of red and grey squirrels in the North-east.

The North-east’s red squirrels will soon benefit from the hard work of the trainees at Wood Recyclability at Pitmedden.

The social enterprise, which provides employment for people with learning difficulties and minor physical disabilities, has made more than 100 feeder boxes which will be put out in woods in the area.

The Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project will be carrying out a survey of both reds and greys throughout the region in March and April.

The feeders are a crucial part of the survey. They are filled with nuts and seeds and left in the woods for six weeks. In that time any visiting animal has to lift the lid of the box. When they do they brush against a small sticky block. This leaves a small hair sample that is collected and looked at under a microscope to determine whether grey or red squirrels have been in the area.

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project officer Stephen Willis said: “This technique is one we have used before in surveys carried out over the past few years, which have only been possible thanks to the input of the many volunteers who have provided us with some fantastic results.

“Unfortunately some of the feeder boxes were getting a little old and past their best so we’re grateful that Wood Recyclability was able to step in and help.”

Published on Sunday 3 March 2013 Ellon Times

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