As for the poplar flowers, yes, I noticed them on the ground but never knew that squirrels eat them. Makes sense, though. They don't just nibble on nuts all the time. Those pictured above are yellow poplar, aka Tulip Poplar due to the flowering buds. Hmm, all I was really searching for were squirrels in the top of the oak, beech and hickory trees. Now I will begin looking on the poplar trees this time of year. Learn something new daily, if I keep an open mind.
Same here, bro. I've noticed them in the past a few times but never really paid that much attention to it. Had it not been for a couple of them almost hitting me in the top of the head I might still not know. But I've never hunted the early season either.
Honestly, this time of year, I have recently learned that it would behoove one to scan the tops of all trees. No telling what kind of buds they may be eating on.