About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Squirrels furiously preparing for winter

There are several theories about squirrels’ behavior in the fall and the upcoming winter weather. For example, an abundance of overly plump squirrels is alleged to indicate a tough winter to come. A couple other theories indicating exceptionally harsh temps on the horizon include seeing squirrels furiously gathering of food or building nests higher in trees than usual. Unfortunately there is zero hard evidence to back up any of these theories.

But according to the Farmers’ Almanac’s famous long-range weather outlook, it’s going to be a long, cold winter, with plenty of snow.

At a glance:
- Colder-than-normal conditions are predicted with above-normal snowfall predicted for Great Lakes.
- The coldest weather will arrive end of January, with blustery and bitter winds, and widespread snow showers.
- Stormy winter conditions will hang on even through the official start of spring, especially for the East.

Winter food for squirrels include apples, nuts, berries, pinenuts, fungi, as well as food they've put in storage. Some food is cached for short periods, especially those made near the site of a sudden abundance of food which can be retrieved within hours or days for reburial in a more secure site. Others are more permanent and are not retrieved until months later.

Squirrels have very accurate spatial memory for the locations of these caches, and use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used partly to uncover food caches, and also to find food in other squirrels' caches. However, scent can be unreliable when the ground is too dry or covered in snow.

If you want to give your squirrels a treat Wild Birds Unlimited makes it easy with a special Wildlife Blend made to feed squirrels in a platform feeder or nut box. Or we have cracked corn, whole corn, corn on the cob, as well as peanut pieces and peanuts in the shell.

Related Articles:
- Squirrel proof bird feeder reviews http://bit.ly/waJs9o
- How do I keep squirrels off my bird feeders? http://bit.ly/yiZsML
- Why are Squirrels Called Squirrels? http://bit.ly/yhktkr
- How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/yYt6Nb
- How high can squirrels jump to bird feeders? http://goo.gl/XuvwNe

- How squirrels remember where they've buried nuts https://goo.gl/65ESYa

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello - I've been following you on Twitter - you recently followed me as well. I am an avid walker and love interacting with the squirrels and birds at Council Point Park. In fact, I almost commented the other day when you posted about the Jays "testing" the peanuts as I know squirrels do that too. The only time they don't test the peanuts is when they scam the squirrels out of their peanuts, from right under their noses. I wrote about it recently in my blog which I was going to forward then, but I am going to send it along now. I've been watching them and agree it will be a bad Winter. I have seen them plump up in the last few weeks. They began hiding peanuts and other nut treasures back in August when we had a chilly week - I noticed they did that last year as well. But then the ground is frozen or snow covered and they can't access peanuts. I try to get there all Winter, but they don't plow or sweep the path and getting through the neighborhoods is treacherous sometimes. I also feed squirrels, Jays and Cardinals by putting peanuts on my front porch. They try to see who can arrive first. :) My former HVAC tech is the owner at WBU in Woodhaven. I've not been there but wished Phil luck by e-mail when he and his wife opened the store. My squirrels also love apples and pumpkins. I've noticed at the Park and on my porch that the squirrels have stopped hiding peanuts and are eating them on the spot. Just an observation - they likely think they've stored enough peanuts, but again ... how do they access them? https://lindaschaubblog.net/2019/10/26/pumpkins-for-munchkins/