Capturing flying squirrels on camera: Nature Center meeting to discuss details

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A San Bernardino flying squirrel.
Photo courtesy the U.S. Forest Service

For local citizen scientists, Saturday, Sept. 9, is an opportunity to participate in regional wildlife study.

The San Diego Natural History Museum is asking local residents to help in efforts to identify whether the Southern California flying squirrel still resides in the San Jacinto Mountains. While several members of the species were captured on cameras during the past year in the San Bernardino Mountains, the San Jacinto Mountain squirrel has not been seen locally in decades.

The SDNHM will host a meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, at the Idyllwild Nature Center. Brian Gibson of the museum’s staff will describe the project and offer cameras to use to spot the squirrel if they are attracted to the neighborhood.

“In this first meeting, we will take a look at a slideshow outlining the history and design of the Flying Squirrels of Southern California study.  We will assign you a camera and explain how to use it, as well as watch some instructional videos on camera installation and how to upload your data to iNaturalist,” Gibson said. “Could it be that squirrels are already habituated to visiting these sites in the middle of the night undetected?”

For those with technical questions about the camera or its operation and location, Gibson will return the following weekend to help install the camera and bait station.

The museum’s squirrel project can be found at flyingsquirrels.sdnhm.org/. And information about the San Bernardino project can be found on its Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/groups/1112184362207519/.

Gibson said, “Feel free to request to join the group!”

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