Last week, I received a forwarded E-mail message from the main museum call center. Ms. Patrice Gitaitis wrote:
"I found your site 'Science Buzz' while searching for information regarding squirrels and their coloring. Your describer is incorrect in the Winter 2005-2006 [phenology] edition when stating that grey squirrels have white ears in winter only in areas where it snows. I am in deep South Georgia and watch the white-eared grey squirrels from my window every day! I will admit this is the first year I have noticed the white ears, but my computer is also in a different space so I can actually see them. This might be an interesting investigation to pursue."
So I wrote to Dick Oehlenschlager, our Biology Curator (and the "describer" mentioned above). Oehlenschlager's response?
"This is interesting, but I'm curious if the ears are truly white or pale yellowish buff colored. (Yellowish buff colored ears are found farther south than the fully white ones.) Also, one cannot rule out the transport and release of specimens from outside their normal areas of distribution, with their genetic traits persisting until their death, and with resulting progeny perhaps carrying on the trait."
Hey, buzzers! Are you seeing white-eared squirrels? And where do you live?