Gray squirrels often have it tough. Back in 2004, the acorn crop crashed, and the squirrels had a hard time surviving last winter. Those that did were often weak and more susceptible to predators – including the automobile tire. They produced smaller families, and their population declined markedly.
The 2005 acorn crop was reportedly a bit better, and until now, the winter of 2005-06 has been mild, so nature may be giving the Gray Squirrel a break.
That may not please folks who battle “tree rats” at the bird feeder or in their attics, but a healthy squirrel population helps keep forests healthy by planting oaks, hickories and other nut-bearing trees. Squirrels also provide food for hawks and owls, and, when they don’t cross at the green, for vultures and crows.