2017 was a mast year for acorns in New England. Because there were more acorns, squirrels were living large, got fat and reproduced well. Which means that this year there are more squirrels for fewer acorns. They grow more desperate and have to go to riskier places, including roads, where they are getting run over in massive numbers this year. Lots of conversation in these parts about how many squirrels are getting killed.
Many squirrels taking risks suggests that squirrel predators should do well this year, but next year they in their turn will have slim pickings. One list of said predators includes: Hawks,
owls, eagles, magpies, ravens, shrikes, skunks, weasels, martens,
minks, badgers, wolverines, foxes, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, lynxes,
cougars, black-footed ferrets, black and grizzly bears, domesticated
cats and dogs, snakes of many sorts, possums, and humans. Hawks and coyotes are likely to be the big items here. Lots of those others aren't common in NH. Plus cars. Cars are a major predator here.
One of my first posts back in 2005 was about my theory of not hitting squirrels by trying to hit them. It seemed to work for years, but I was informed by a reader a few weeks ago that he had proven that the rule is not, er, infallible. So it's more in the nature of a guideline, like the Pirate Code.
And it emphatically does not work on chipmunks.