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Spring Food Habits and Feeding Behavior of Fox Squirrels and Red Squirrels

Timothy A. Reichard
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 96, No. 2 (Oct., 1976), pp. 443-450
Published by: University of Notre Dame
DOI: 10.2307/2424082
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2424082
Page Count: 8
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Spring Food Habits and Feeding Behavior of Fox Squirrels and Red Squirrels
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Abstract

The food habits of fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) and red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) were studied during the late winter and spring seasons in a woodlot in southern Michigan. Twelve food sources were used, the flower buds of red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and buds and flowers of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) being most important. Of the 213 fox and 41 red squirrel feeding observations, 48% of the observations were of squirrels feeding on buds, with 26% being on sugar maple buds and 21% on red and silver maple buds. Due to a diversity in bud swelling, flowering and fruiting periods of the food trees, food was available throughout the study period. The gross energy values of red maple flower buds and sugar maple buds were determined to be 4.633 kcal/g or 0.01865 kcal per bud and 4.478 kcal/g or 0.05598 kcal per bud, respectively. Maple trees appeared to be as important as mast producers for the survival of the squirrel populations.

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