mountain boomers

Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at NYU.EDU
Fri Apr 27 02:23:07 UTC 2001

While quickly flailing around for additional "mountain boomer" info, I
happened to save these items, which I pass along for what they are worth or
not. Apparently, some people still buy the story that the squirrel in
question actually booms (i.e., makes a loud sound) --

"The red squirrel is found in the higher elevations of the mountainous area
of western North Carolina. It is also known as a "Boomer" in this area. This
term is used in Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain" when talking about the red
squirrels chattering in the trees. I am happy to report that we saw one here
at the house on Monday, November 8, 1999."

"More than 50 kinds of mammals live in the park. In the high country the red
squirrel or "boomer" is often heard or seen because of its big voice and
vigorous actions."

"DID YOU KNOW? The red squirrel (Sciurus hudsonicus) is known locally as the
"boomer" because of its loud and constant chattering."

(and, a lesson in internet cut-and-paste plagiarism:)

"The red squirrel (Sciurus hudsonicus) is locally known as a "boomer"
because of the load and constant chattering it produces."

"A different chipmunk/squirrel has found our front yard. A "local" told us
it was a "boomer" (red squirrel). It is between in size, has a chipmunk-like
face, a mix of gray and reddish -brown hair"

"The red squirrel is also known as the pine squirrel, chickaree, or boomer
in some parts of Canada."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 17, 1994, Pg. 2C

"Because it was originally a teachers college, Western Carolina's teams were
known, naturally enough, as the Teachers. But when the school expanded its
curriculum, in 1933, it decided it needed a new nickname as well....
However, the school passed up a wonderful opportunity for a truly
magnificent name by not going with the second choice. Narrowly edged out in
the voting was "The Mountain Boomers." A Mountain Boomer, by the way, is a
flying squirrel. They like their moonshine up there in Appalachian country."

I also came across the names of one or two local newspapers in mountainy
areas of the Southeast calling themselves "The Mountain Boomer," which also
supports the boomer = noisemaker etymology --

Greg Downing, at greg.downing at or gd2 at

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