Squirrels Gone Wild Rockford Illinois


As a resident of Rockford Illinois, you probably have become quite used to seeing squirrels in your backyard. There are two common types of tree squirrels that live here in Rockford. The first is a small grayish squirrel aptly named the Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). This squirrel mates continually from late fall until midsummer, but the peak mating times (in the northern part of the state) is in late January and then again in mid to late July. Young are born in about 44 days, usually in the months of March and again in early September.

The second commonly seen squirrel here in town is the Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger). The Fox Squirrel is larger and has a more reddish fur. This squirrel has very similar reproductive patterns with minor differences in gestation and peak breeding times. Both species have two litters per year after maturity is reached. A baby squirrel can fit into a teaspoon and it weighs only 14-18 grams!

It has been said that these squirrels do not cohabitate within the same city very often, but my experience tells a different story. These creatures are frequently seen in the same area and even in the same back yard here in Rockford. Squirrels love nuts and seeds including hickories, elm, oak, walnuts and pecans. They love eating seeds from bird feeders and often become a nuisance for people who wish to keep them out of their bird feeder. As food sources become scarcer, squirrels will adapt their diet to include leaves and even bark from oak, currants, hackberry and others. These creatures are commonly seen digging holes in the yard and storing nuts for another day. Researchers have actually witnessed squirrels pretending to hide nuts in the ground in an apparent attempt at fooling others who may be watching where the food is hidden!

One thing is for sure, these creatures sure are crafty. Squirrels nest in leaves, cavities in trees and even sometimes in your home if you arent careful! They are part of nature and they are just trying to survive as best they can. Here are a few tips that can help to ensure that living side by side with these creatures is a good experience.

  • Eliminate bird feeders or if you’re a birdwatcher like me, then place the feeder at least 6 feet from the ground and any nearby trees or structures, hang the feeder by piano wire that hangs at least 4 feet from the tree branch and use a squirrel baffle that can be purchased at your local hardware store. * Remember that you will probably never be able to completely outsmart them!
  • Do not put bread or other food items on the ground.
  • Trim tree branches so that they are at least 4 feet away from your home.
  • Place a good quality metal chimney cap on all chimneys and use vent caps on all vents!
  • If all else fails, call a pest control or animal damage control professional who is licensed though the state of Illinois!