If you’ve seen any flying squirrels recently the U.S. Forest Service would like to hear from you. The San Bernardino flying squirrel is a subspecies of the northern flying squirrel (it must have decided to move where the weather was warmer). Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
The squirrels are only known to be from the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains although it has not been seen in the San Jacinto Mountains for about 20 years.
Flying squirrels are closer in size to chipmunks rather than the local larger native gray squirrels. They are nocturnal and have large flaps of skin that connect their front and hind feet. These flaps of skin allow them to glide from tree to tree. They do not fly the same way birds do as no flapping of their wings is involved and their flat tail is used as a rudder to steer them as they glide.
Since the early 1990s Forest Service biologists have been studying flying squirrels in the Mountaintop District of the San Bernardino National Forest. Research is needed to have a greater understanding of the current distribution, their habitat requirements and the status of the population so if you have seen them in the local mountains you are asked to report the sighting information to Robin Eliason at (909) 382-2832. If you have photographs the forest service would like to see them.
Currently much of the information the Forest Service has on the flying squirrels and their “whereabouts” is based on reports from residents who see them at their bird feeders at night or those who have found dead flying squirrels.