Just because you do not see them does not mean they are not there. Squirrel populations fluctuate naturally due to a number of environmental factors, like the availability of food, water and shelter, predation, illnesses, and the number of young.
In the fall squirrels must acquire a territory and midden, food storage area, prior to bad weather to survive. Family time is over and all the juveniles must compete for a territory, or find a new one.
Right now there is a lot of food being dropped from trees and other plants. Squirrels are excited about all the fruit nuts and berries available. They're looking furiously for a territory, munching and hiding food to prepare for winter.
And just like in the spring when they are moving around looking for mates, in the fall they are planning for winter and sometimes forget to look both ways before crossing the street. I’m watching a black squirrel right now cross the busy road in front of the Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing store with two black walnuts in his mouth. He can barely see past these huge treasures he’s found but fortunately he’s made it across safely today. Last year I had a squirrel that would knock on the window every day at 4 pm for a nut. Stubby was a clever boy with only half a tail but I haven’t seen him this year.
A squirrel’s average lifespan in the wild is 7 months. If they survive their first year their average life expectancy goes up to 2.3 years with a maximum lifespan of around eight years in the wild. Squirrels may also become prey for large hawks and owls or die through misadventure, illness or human factors.
Do the squirrels know something we don’t? According to the Farmer’s almanac, early and frantic movement of squirrels collecting nuts is one of the signs of a hard winter ahead. In fact their 2013-2014 prediction is biting cold and snowy winter for Michigan. See the full Farmer's Almanac report: http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/2013/08/25/2014-us-winter-forecast/
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