I am writing about the phenomenon of squirrels gathering stones. I found reports from a couple of folks, but my case is quite different. I have a heated bird bath on my porch, just 8 feet from my glass door. I clean it every few days. About two months ago (January 2016) I noticed some small river stones in the bath. They were about the size of a penny. I scratched my head and threw them out. A few days later, there were a couple more stones. I decided to leave them this time. Ever since, about every two to three days, a new stone appears in the water bath. At the moment, there are 15 stones and they are still coming (Feb 20th). We live in an older neighborhood in Fayetteville, Arkansas. There is a fair amount of trees and cover.

The squirrels visit the bath many time every day. It is part of their routine. Still, I have not been able to see one drop or carry a stone. I suppose another suspect might be a raccoon but we have never seen one in our yard before. They could certainly be here at night. Or a pack rat? We have seen a rat once this year below the bird feeders. Somehow, I feel it is the squirrel.

The stones finally did stop at 18. I still have them in the bird bath, hoping more will appear. However, I still haven’t caught the squirrels in the act.

I am deeply moved by this act somehow. I can think of no explanation, but it somehow make me feel affection for the squirrels. I’d love it if anyone can explain what is happening here. That would be thrilling!

Kelly Mulhollan, Arkansas

Stones in bird bath - Kelly Mulhollan

Stones in bird bath – Kelly Mulhollan

Note: More stories of squirrels gathering stones can be found in my post from November 30, 2014. D.M.

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.