Nature’s energy drink?

mvc-005sDuring this time of year, while walking along the trails of the Susquehanna Riverlands, it would not be uncommon to come across a place where the ground is littered with the reddish tips of red maple twigs.  A closer examination will reveal that each one has been nipped off cleanly at an angle.  This is the work of gray squirrels as they supplement their diets with the sap of the tree.  The “pruning” occurs at a time when the sap is moving through the trees…”sugaring” time.  The nutrient-rich, energy- providing sap flows out of the cut twig providing nutrition to the squirrel at a time of year when resources have become limited.  A more concentrated version of this “natural energy drink” will be available after the sap dries.  It is thought that this behavior may have provided Native Americans with the idea of harvesting the sap to produce maple syrup

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