Saturday, 3 November 2012

Squirrels invading gardens due to poor seed and nut harvest


Lower quantities of seeds and nuts in the wild will bring more birds and squirrels into gardens
October 2012. The last few weeks have seen Grey Squirrels pile into gardens. With reports of patchy seed and nut crops in the countryside this autumn, these dextrous and divisive garden guests are turning to bird feeders.
Keep an eye on your bird food - squirrels are coming! Householders who record garden wildlife through the year-round British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey have revealed a big influx of Grey Squirrels over recent weeks. Garden use is currently up by a third compared with the same period in 2009-2011.
Friend or foe?
Seed and nut availability appears to be patchy in the countryside this autumn, leaving wildlife in search of alternative food. For Grey Squirrels, as well as for birds, garden bird feeders provide a nutritious fix. While some householders welcome squirrels into their gardens, others consider them to be pests that chomp through expensive bird food and feeders.
BTO research shows that many bird species, such as Jay, Coal Tit and Nuthatch, turn to gardens in greater numbers when seeds, such as beechmast, are scarce during autumn and winter. It is, therefore, possible that there will be increased competition at garden feeders over the coming months, not only between birds but also between birds and Grey Squirrels.

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