Thursday, December 29, 2011

What are they eating?

The components that make up ideal wildlife habitat are not much different than our own; food, water, and shelter.  Knowing what food source the wildlife you are seeking is utilizing at any given time is an important clue to locating it.  Squirrels in my area will be found around hickory trees in mid to late August where they are cutting the green hickory nuts.  As the acorns ripen squirrels will show a marked preference for the oak ridges where they will feed and collect fallen nuts many of which they will bury for later retrieval.  In year's when the acorn crop fails, squirrels can be found targeting other food sources such as red-bud pods, dogwood berries, wild grape, poplar seed, etc.

Recently I have noticed that most of our local gray squirrels are targeting black walnuts.  They seem to have forsaken nearly all other food sources, even our feeders offering sunflower seed and corn, preferring the hard thick shelled black walnuts instead.  The walnut meats are quite tasty but at the same time difficult to access.  It is not uncommon to watch a squirrel gnaw for fifteen minutes or more on a single nut as it chews holes through the shell to extract the contents.  It's a lot of work for a small meal but the squirrels don't seem to mind.


TexWisGirl said...

that 2nd shot is gorgeous! and their tenacity for walnuts is probably pretty similar to mine with chocolate covered caramels/nuts. :)

Kjell T. Evensen said...

Looks like a happy fellow. Beautiful images.

I wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2012.

Montanagirl said...

Love your Squirrel photos! So sharp and clear.

Brian King said...

Love the tree rats! Great shots!