CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 29, 2009

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


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BATTLING SQUIRRELS AT BIRD FEEDERS II:

Protecting the seed


Spring is sprung, the grass is riz…to feed the birds, becomes my biz!

NOTE: In rural areas, summer bird feeders should not be hung until the natural food for the bear population has become plentiful, nor should they be out in October-November. If you choose to put them out, bring them in at night to prevent bear invasions.
To read articles on bears click on: 
 To read Part 1 on bird feeders click on Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them
 To read the conclusion of BATTLING THE SQUIRRELS, click on:
Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders

    The use of feeders presents a problem for bird lovers: how to protect the food from a food predator, the squirrel. These crafty, agile critters can climb smooth poles, reach through small openings, and jump onto bird feeders from an object more than eight feet away, chasing away the birds and eating up to a pound of their seed in one morning.
     Squirrels are great problem solvers. You may think you have won the battle, but they continue the war. Whatever method(s) you use to defeat them, remember: it could take several attempts to get it right. Keep trying.
   To stack the cards on your side of the battle, you must understand

squirrel behavior. My squirrel character, Squodent, will help describe this behavior and ways that MIGHT thwart squirrels at bird feeders.
     First, it’s necessary to know that Squodent, a very entertaining acrobat, can leap five to six feet into the air from ground level from below a bird feeder, and able to do high-wire dives from above it, scattering the yummy seed onto the ground.
     He is also quite the problem solver, having great intelligence. He will sit for hours, studying a situation, figuring out the right angle to dive at the bird feeder. And over seventy-five percent of the time he is successful.
     Thus, to keep Squodent off  birdfeeders, the feeders must be out of his reach, in a spot where he cannot climb, jump or hop onto his goal. To accomplish this, bird feeders must be at least ten feet from any launching pad—building structures, trees, shrubs, or wires, and at least six feet off the ground.
      Squodent is able to agilely climb the posts supporting birdfeeders, squiggle down the ropes on which a feeder hangs, jump up to six feet from the ground, or cover eight feet from a tree or shrubbery. The battle goes on. (to view photos click on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3393531857/in/photostream/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3394343280/ & http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3393612047/)
     Whatever technique you choose for Squodent-free birdfeeders, it must not harm the critters. Avoid using poison traps that kill; sticky stuff that can soil Squodent fur and bird feathers; electric current that shocks Squodent, or cayenne pepper in the birdseed, since it can result in eye irritation and blindness.
     Squodent can easily access hanging bird feeders. However, the addition of a baffle—a round, umbrella-shaped barrier placed above the feeder—will complicate Squodent’s mission. These are available commercially, but are expensive. However, they can be improvised. Attach several empty milk or beverage jugs to a hanging line, narrow end up, to thwart Squodent.  If the feeder hangs from a horizontal line, slip several plastic beverage bottles loosely on it. When Squodent attempts to cross the line, the bottles will spin under his feet, sending him down to the ground.
     Baffles can be used effectively on pole feeders, also. Pole feeders must place the bird feeder at least six feet above the ground.  To create an effective post, use a four by four covered with a baffle a smooth, cylindrical, device made from  old stovepipe; six inch diameter PVC pipe; an eight foot length of rain gutter (cut in half, with one half put on each side of the pole). Squodent’s paws cannot maneuver these smooth, large-diameter devices.

     Another option to discourage Squodent is greasing the pole feeder with oil, grease, petroleum jelly, or Pam, creating a slippery surface that he cannot climb. The slick material needs to be refreshed periodically, especially following rain.
     There are warnings about greasing the pole. The grease can be toxic to squirrels when they ingest it while cleaning themselves.

ADDITIONAL READING:

FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD 

BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION

BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

OF FIREFLIES AND LIGHTNING BUGS

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/

BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS  & BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION &

BEAR CARNIVAL IN CONNELLSVILLE, PA.

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2 Comments »

  1. great article, i just gave up and gave my little squirrels their own little feeding station,now they dont mess with my bird feeders anymore

    Comment by discount bird feeders — October 13, 2010 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  2. 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 @ 4:44 pm | Reply


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