This is turning out to be a difficult autumn for us squirrels. In case you humans haven’t noticed, there aren’t very many acorns dropping on your cars…or your lawns…or our woods. We’ve been searching and burying, but haven’t collected enough.
Fewer acorns means more competition with the other animals who also eat them—wild turkeys, deer and black bears here in Virginia. Less food for us in the suburbs, more fighting with other squirrels for it, and possibly needing to move to new territories… it’s a hard life.
So what does a squirrel—or a deer, a turkey or a bear—eat when the acorn levels are down?
Beechnuts! That’s a favorite we don’t see very much of here in our Reston neighborhood.
There’s hickory—it’s a very good year for hickory—walnut, hawthorn… and we’ll even start to gnaw on some cherry pits if we need to. Thank goodness these trees don’t have the same cycles.
Who is to blame? Some humans say it was the cicadas ‘pruning’ the trees with their egg-laying last spring. Others say that big storm, Hurricane Sandy, weakened the oaks a year ago when they grow buds for the flowing season–this one. Or was it because the summer was dry?
We’re not sure of the reason, just that we’re getting down from our perches for a furious search for more food sources.
This is one of the reasons I–Nutmeg–suggested to my fellow squirrels at The Squirrel Nutwork that we take a break from blogging. We hope you understand that when life gets busy, we squirrel–and humans–must shift our energies to where they are most needed.