Landscape Language

Midden (n) –a squirrel’s waste pile

Some may be familiar with kitchen
middens, a waste pile of kitchen scraps, but at Mount Rainier a midden is a
pile of cone debris left behind by a Douglas squirrel.  Douglas squirrels will frequently return to a
favorite spot to enjoy a conifer cone. As the squirrel chews out the seeds from
the cone, cone scales and debris falls around the spot, building up to form a
midden. Typically Douglas squirrels choose a stump, snag, or rock for their
snack spot – but they like any spot with a view, including fence posts and
bridge railings. What other spots have you seen Douglas squirrel middens?

NPS Photo: Douglas squirrel midden on
the railing of the Longmire Suspension Bridge. ~kl

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