This is also the reality of a cliamte change. Ground squirrels wake up every year in the middle to the end of March, which is about a month from now. This year, several localities report us that they have woken up and have already moved through their burrows, which means they have been awake for about a week. Apparently this is ground squirrel wake-up record, although we do have wake-up records in late February – but they are from recent years, which also confirms this not-so-positive trend.
After all, ground squirrels are exhausted after hibernation, they need to gain energy and eat food very quickly. Currently, due to the fact that nature has not yet awakened, they can hardly find anything. There are no insects outside and the plants are not yet in bloom.
They can find some old fruit – for example, rosehips or berries from last year, but they have to run far from their burrows for food, and because they are still weak, they are very easy prey for predators at the moment.
As a project activity, we are now going to feed them on their sites with seeds.
However, this is not a long-term solution, it is important to manage the landscape so that the so-called stubble, or unmown strips, in which there are, for example, grasses with the rest of the seeds or old thistles. Moreover, many insects hibernate in such plants, which ground squirrels can easily find. And besides, of course, fruit trees in the country are a solution to find a fallen apple or pear.
These are all things that need to be considered when farming in the country, not only because of soil erosion, hiding places for insects, but also because of wider contexts.
Such an approach to the landscape can obviously save even early-awakened ground squirrels and help preserve biodiversity even in times of climate change.