Well, maybe it was just one flying squirrel.
This past week the squirrels have been ravaging the hazelnuts, way before ripening time. They usually start to ripen at the earliest, mid-August. The squirrels have already begun to strip the plants and eat the nuts.
Here is the evidence...
Last week, to his surprise (and mine), he caught a flying squirrel in the trap! I almost didn't believe him! I mean, flying squirrels live around here???
Well, evidently they do. I even looked up their territory, and while they are definitely not in any great numbers, they do, in fact, live in this area. Their habitat range is only in the Red River Valley and then Northeastern Minnesota.
You can read more about flying squirrels here. http://www.flyingsquirrels.com/
Oh my gosh, are these not the cutest things ever??
Don't worry, he was relocated to a nicely wooded area.
This summer has so far been pretty dry. I hope the hazelnuts will fill out OK. We just got some rain yesterday and today, so hopefully that will help them out. So far we haven't irrigated the older hazelnuts, just the ones recently planted.