Coaxing a bushy-tailed acorn-muncher out of its leafy bower and into view is easy with the right call. While there are many commercial products available, you can make an effective squirrel call for a fraction of the cost. The key is to understand how to use it.
Squirrels often bark and squeal when they're alerted to the presence of a predator or other threat. They also chatter their teeth and wag their tails to portray hostility. These vocalizations will prompt other squirrels to respond, escalating the situation.
During the day, a squirrel's alarm calls are based on its location and the surrounding environment. Squirrels are diurnal, so they're active during the daylight hours and will typically move throughout their territory or adjacent ones. In urban settings, the sounds of traffic and construction can interfere with squirrels' hearing. As a result, they may produce louder or more frequent calls to be heard.
Other sounds squirrels may make include rattle noises, which are a way for them to communicate their identity and whereabouts. They may make this noise when they're apprehensive, annoyed or looking for food.
For a simple and inexpensive squirrel call, take two sticks of equal length and cut them in half. Place a piece of thin plastic film between the sticks to form a resonator. Cut a piece of tape about 3 inches long and wrap it around the stick ends about a quarter inch from the cuts to hold the stick together. Blow gently between the sticks to mimic the squirrel's alarm noises and other sounds. Experiment with different variations on the call by varying the amount of air you blow into the resonator and by separating the sticks slightly to alter the pitch of the sound.