CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 21, 2009

Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BATTLING SQUIRRELS AT BIRD FEEDERS I:

To Fight or to Join Them

WARNING: Bird feeders should not be put outside at night until the risk of bear danger is over, about mid-June, and should be removed before mid-October. Otherwise, not only is the bird seed threatened, but the bird feeders are at risk of being ruined. And who wants a bear looking in their window at three o’clock in the morning, while he enjoys a meal from the bird feeder? For further information on bears click on: BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION & BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

     I watched quite a while as the squirrel sitting on the branch intensely studied the birdfeeder. It was hung by fishline well below the branch, well above the ground and a sufficient distance from the tree trunk to be difficult for a squirrel to reach.
     Suddenly, the squirrel, which I dubbed Squodent, dove headlong into the birdfeeder. Seed sprayed out, scattering on the ground below. Squodent raced down the tree trunk to enjoy his feast, the sunflower seed he effectively stole from the birds for which it was meant.

     Such is the frustration of persons who install bird feeders in order to enjoy nature’s variety of feathered friends.
     I’ve tried other techniques to discourage the squirrels. Although I prefer peace over guns, I’ve sat on the patio, patiently waiting for a “victim” to shoot with my new weapon. Harmless that it was, it had a modicum of success. However, the fancy water pistol (or water “machine gun”) only temporarily deterred the squirrels, as long as my aim showered them with the water ammo. I must admit my aim was pretty poor. Furthermore, I had to be sitting quietly on the patio. If I were on my enclosed porch, they would hear me stealthily creep toward the door. And they would run. 
     I recall seeing one of the “squirrel proof” bird feeders in a major department store, one like I had invested in. I commented to the clerk that they were ineffective in deterring the squirrels.
     “I’ve got three in my yard, and they are very effective,” he responded.
     I paused before answering. “Well then, my squirrels must be smarter than your squirrels,” I retorted, “because my squirrels have figured out how to get a treat from these squirrel-proof feeders!”
     End of conversation. I wished I had had my pictures of the squirrels, who had figured out that if they sat on the top of the bird feeder, stretched their bodies down the length of it, and used their paws to gently remove whatever seed they wanted from the feeder, the spring that was meant to close with their weight could be sidestepped.
    
     In a losing battle, it is said one should join the enemy one cannot defeat. Certainly the cute little rodents are entertaining. I’ve watched their antics while enjoying my morning coffee, or eating a meal, on my patio. But they are also persistent and inquisitive, and seldom accept “no” for an answer. One of their favorite foods is birdseed. Caving in to their lust for sunflower and other types of birdseed requires a significantly higher investment in the product, so much so that it prohibits bird feeding altogether. Greedy Squodent considered the dried corn I set out at alternative feeding posts as a variety in his diet, rather than an alternative to the bird feeders. He spread the word about the plentiful food supply to his furry-tailed friends. It spread like wildfire. Soon the population of the four-legged bush-tailed critters bee-bopping about my lawn not only consumed the corn and scattered birdseed—they were demanding more. As intelligent as they demonstrate they are, they don’t seem able to differentiate between the squirrel food and the bird food. They assume that all food is put out for them, and will choose to feed on what they consider most appetizing. They also choose the most comfortable feeding spot, which is usually the bird feeder.
     So what is a bird-lover—and a squirrel watcher—to do?

To learn ways of battling squirrels at bird feeders, click on Parts II and III of this post: Battling squirrels at bird feeders II: to fight or join them & Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders

     I invite you to share  with my readers what techniques you have tried, and the success of these techniques. Post your stories in the comment box below.

ADDITIONAL READING:

FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD 

BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION

BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

THE KILLER KITTEN

RAINBOW’S END Part 1 of 4 parts
BLACK FLIES AND OTHER INSECTS: Then and Now

March days to celebrate

Writer’s calls for submissions, competitions & events March 1, 2009
Kathy Kelly, of Voices of Wilderness: On Peace

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 1

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 2

ARE YOU LIVING IMPAIRED?

Moving to the (Laurel Ridge) Mountains

Jesus

FROM THE BASTILLE TO CINDERELLA

MOTHER-NEWBORN DAUGHTER STRUGGLE

DEAR A’NONNIEMOUSE FROM COCHRAN (COCKROACH)

ARCHIE & MEHITIBLE

Online Sites for Caretakers & Families of Brain Injury Victims

Finding Ben

SITE LINKS:

www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com/

www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com

www.barbarapurbaugh.com

www.pennwriters.com

ellenspain.com

http://ligonierliving.blogspot.com/

http://www.methodists-care.org/

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4 Comments »

  1. Apparently squirrels steal more than bird seed. A Port Huron, Michigan squirrel stole celetery flags to build a “glorious nest.” The flags were torn off their wooden staffs following a Memorial Day service, and the thief was discovered by a cemetery superintendent who watched the squirrel detach a flag from staff and carry it up a tree to the nest, which was pictured with a flag draping from it.

    Comment by Carolyn — June 2, 2009 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  2. squodent lol I sit and watch my little squodents just like my birds now that ive given them their own little feeding spot. no more bird seed for them.

    Comment by discount bird feeders — October 13, 2010 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  3. The squirrel battle is on in 2011, according Colin McNickle’s Saturday Essay editorial in the Tribune Review, April 2:

    Brown squirrels have ruled the roost ’round these parts for decades. So comfortable and familiar they are, it’s not unusual for them to saunter up to you, stand up on their back legs, offer a quick salutation and ask, “Hey, got any spare corn, pal?”

    But now, black squirrels are challenging the browns’ hegemony. And these are squirrels with a ‘tude.

    To read the complete discussion click on http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/s_730401.html.

    Comment by Carolyn — April 3, 2011 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  4. The seed that attracts the widest variety of birds, and so the best choice to offer, is sunflower. The worst choice is an inexpensive mixture, especially if it contains red millet, oats, and other “fillers” that most birds in most areas spurn. Wasted seed provides a breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can harm birds. ^

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    Comment by Robt Catching — March 11, 2013 @ 11:22 am | Reply


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