Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Ford WM, Kelly CA, Rodrigue JL, Odom RH, Newcomb D, Gilley LM, and Diggins CA 2014. Late winter and early spring home range and habitat use of the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel in western North Carolina. Endangered Species Research. 23:73-82.


We radio-tracked 3 female and 2 male endangered Carolina northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus) during late winter and early spring 2012 in the Mount Hardy area of the Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County, North Carolina. Over the survey period, northern flying squirrels used 13 yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) and 9 red spruce (Picea rubens) as diurnal dens. Ten of the 13 yellow birch dens were located in the cavities whereas the remainders were dreys. Conversely, 8 of the red spruce dens were dreys and only one was located in a cavity. Mean female 95% adaptive kernel and 50% adaptive kernel home ranges were 6.50 + 2.19 ha and 0.93 + 0.33 ha whereas mean male 95% adaptive kernel and 50 % adaptive kernel home ranges were 12.6 + 0.9 ha and 1.45 + 0.1 ha, respectively. Carolina northern flying squirrels used red spruce-dominated stands with canopies > 20 m in height greater than expected based on availability at the landscape- and both 95% and 50% adaptive kernel home range-scales. Our results provide additional evidence that although hardwoods such as yellow birch are an important habitat component for denning, mature red spruce-dominated habitats with complex structure are preferred foraging habitats and also are used as denning habitat. These data support efforts to improve the structural condition of extant red spruce forests and/or increase overall red spruce acreage to potentially benefit northern flying squirrels.