The Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is a noisy tree squirrel with a white eye-ring. Photo: Walter Siegmund, Creative Commons License.

The Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is a noisy tree squirrel with a light-colored eye ring. Photo: Walter Siegmund, Creative Commons License.

Douglas squirrel
Tamiasciurus douglasii
  • A small, noisy tree squirrel.
  • Gray-brown head and body, yellow-tinted belly.
  • White eye-ring.
  • Total length ~10-13 inches (including tail).

Record Observations
Species Description:

The Douglas squirrel is a small, noisy tree squirrel common in Sierra Nevada pine/fir forests (Steele 1999) and north into Oregon, Washington and Canada (view range map from IUCN).  Along the Truckee River, Douglas squirrels are most likely to be seen among along upper reaches of river where pines and firs are present.  The Douglas’ squirrel is sometimes called the “Chickaree”, and was described by John Muir in The Mountains of California as “by far the most interesting and influential of the California sciuridae [squirrel family]”.

During spring, Douglas squirrels feed on the tips of pine and fir branches. During other parts of the year, they feed on fruits, berries, tree seeds (from cones of pine and fir trees) and fungi (Steele 1999; Linzey & NatureServe 2008).  Squirrels build stockpiles of cones and seeds near the center of their territories called “middens”, often storing enough food to last for more than one season (Steele 1999).

Douglas squirrels breed during March-May, and give birth to 2-8 young (usually 4-6) during May and June (Linzey & NatureServe 2008).  They build nests in forks of trees out of twigs, mosses, lichens and bark.  They are very noisy, and communicate messages using five calls — a chirp, a rattle, a screech, a growl, and a buzz (Steele 1999).  Predators include bobcats, coyotes and owls (Linzey & NatureServe 2008).

Photos & Information needed!

Do you have information on Douglas squirrels, or original photographs taken locally?  If so, please contribute photos and observations here, or email information to Thanks!



Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) 2008. Tamiasciurus douglasii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>.

NatureServe. 2014. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed: October 14, 2014 ).

Steele, Michael A. 1999. Tamiasciurus douglasii.  Mammalian Species. No. 630, pp.1-8. American Society of Mammalogists, 3 Dec. 1999.


Share this Project


  1. I have many little branch tips under my mondale pines.but I never see squirrels in my trees. I live in Pahrump Nevada to ground squirrels ate the same little branches off the top of the trees.? Thank you

  2. I have many little branch tips under my mondale pines.but I never see squirrels in my trees. I live in Pahrump Nevada do ground squirrels eat the same little branches off the top of the trees.? Thank you.

  3. We are in Coarsegold ca, about 30 mikes south of Yosemite NP at 1,500 elevation. There are plenty of ground squirrels, western Gray Squirrels and a few Chipmunks. There is also some small reddish tree squirrel I see regularly that resemble the Red Squirrel I grow up around in the deciduous woods in Indiana. I looked the Red Squirrel distribution up, and what I’m finding is that they are not this far west. I looked up the Douglas Squirrel and it shows that it lives too far Notth of here. What is this little creature?

    1. Hello, sorry for the slow reply! In the region that you describe, my mammal book only shows Western Gray Squirrel, Douglas’s squirrel, or Northern Flying Squirrel. Do you have any photos?

      1. Thanks Kelsey. No I don’t. I’ve been an avid outdoorsman my entire life, and I’m 62. That’s a lot of time in the woods, fields, lakes etc. Mother Nature can give us great huge spectacular views,….or quick brief snippets of time involving some of her creatures.  So I never seem to have the camera ready whenever I see these diminutive and very fast squirrels!!  These little buggers are like fury lightning bolts. !!Yes I’m familiar with those three rodents you mentioned. I see the Western Grays a lot, and the Douglass up higher in the Sierras above 4,000-5,000 feet. We are at 1,500 feet elevation. And these squirrels are smaller and reddish when compared to the Douglas. I’ve only seen the flying squirrels a few times because as you know they are nocturnal. These definitely are not flying squirrels. To add to the confusion there are two non-native tree squirrels now in the state. I knew the Fox Squirrel was here because it’s all over some of the larger cities. We live just north of FRESNO, and the Fox Squirrels are all over those city parks. Then I read that the “Eastern Gray Squirrel “, had also been introduced here. There is not much difference in outward appearance from the Western Gray, except that the Eastern  Gray has a fair amount of brown markings on the face.  With the world shut down, the fires raging, crazy political games and rioting, being an amateur nerd nature guy is way off most people’s radar. As a matter of fact I doubt that many even know the names of a single species of squirrel , let alone wonder which species are in the area.  But John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt abd Autobahn would ?? 

        Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPhone

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.