Survey shows red squirrels are hanging on in there in Northumberland

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) has published the results of its annual red and grey squirrel survey, which once again confirms that red squirrels can still be found across Northumberland.

The monitoring programme is the only scientific evidence base that helps measure whether the collective red squirrel conservation effort is making a difference in the north of England.

Each year the programme aims to survey around 250 sites and involved a huge 150 people in 2023. Without the help of all those involved, completion of the survey would simply not be possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Overall results show that red squirrels were found in 50% of sites this year, down from 53.2% in 2022.

A red squirrel in Northumberland. Picture: John BridgesA red squirrel in Northumberland. Picture: John Bridges
A red squirrel in Northumberland. Picture: John Bridges

On the other hand, grey squirrels were found in 62.3% of sites, an increase of 5.3% compared to last year.

In Northumberland, specifically, grey detection continues to be around 20% higher than red detection in Northumberland which is a similar result to last year.

Certain areas have yielded good results for our native species such as in Northumberland National Park, where red squirrel detection remains slightly higher than grey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kyloe red squirrel reserve is also a key area for red squirrels thanks to conservation efforts from the Save Our Squirrels Berwick volunteer group. Surveys conducted within the reserve itself found only reds present.

Reds are hanging on in there. Picture: Charles Thody.Reds are hanging on in there. Picture: Charles Thody.
Reds are hanging on in there. Picture: Charles Thody.

This year in Northumberland there was an increase in surveys finding both red and grey squirrels, in contrast to last year where there was a reduction in sites with squirrels present. It was thought this reduction could be due to Storm Arwen causing displacement of populations, and the 2023 results suggest they may be returning.

Abbie McCourt, Red Squirrels Northern England project officer says:“Each year we eagerly await the results of our spring monitoring programme which are integral for helping us see the impact of our collective conservation efforts.

"The substantial increase in grey squirrel presence this year is concerning, however we are not disheartened and hope it can help build a case for further funding and support for red squirrels in areas that need it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“As always, we are extremely grateful to everyone who invests their time and effort into the survey, making it possible, and to all of the volunteers and other stakeholders who are working tirelessly across northern England to protect our red squirrels.”

To enter squirrel sightings, find out how to get involved, or read the 2023 spring survey, visit