[CT Birds] Winter food for raptors

Roy Harvey rmharvey at snet.net
Fri Nov 30 18:41:59 EST 2012

Alternating cycles of abundant and scarce nuts can work to the trees' advantage.  If crops were uniform the squirrels and others that consume the nuts would establish a population that consumes almost all of the crop every year.  There would be few seedlings to propagate the species.  A down cycle of acorns or other nuts that hurts the squirrel population can be followed by abundance greater than the remaining squirrels can consume, so there are extras that can germinate and start new trees.  This is a pretty widespread pattern; in a similar manner fluctuations in prey species provide some limits on raptors and other carnivores.  Nature's balances are rarely without cycles.

Roy Harvey
Beacon Falls, CT

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