One year there were no acorns. In the early summer, the oaks had dropped the tiny undeveloped acorns. Also, the nut trees were barren and pine cones were few. I read that this was "nature's way" of controling the squirrel population. Thinking that did seem cruel on nature's part, I got raw peanuts at the feed store and, along with sunflower seeds, fed our squirrels through the coldest part. Somehow, it has become an obligation on my part and I have continued doing it ever since. I don't think it was the wisest thing to do since they, and the chipmunks and wild birds, now depend on me. We also have increased their numbers. Now, we have six to eight every day looking for their hand-outevery day. Actually, after a snow storm a couple of years ago there were thirty plus!
Every year I think I will stop in late spring and just not put anything out, but they still come. They are fun to watch.