CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 30, 2009

Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders

Filed under: FEATURE STORIES — carolyncholland @ 12:47 am

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BATTLING SQUIRRELS AT BIRD FEEDERS III:

Types of bird feeders

 

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:

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

BEAR CARNIVAL IN CONNELLSVILLE, PA.

Part III is the final installment of this post on squirrels at bird feeders. To read Part 1 on bird feeders click on Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them, and to read Part II click on Battling squirrels at bird feeders II: to fight or join them

     Another approach is the squirrel-proof or squirrel-resistant feeder. Savvy bird lovers know that these are not a true solution, since technology cannot compete with the Squodent’s intelligence. The new products are being introduced regularly can be quite costly and will limit the number of birds that can access the bird food.
     There are several types. Some have feeders encased in tubular or round wire mesh cage that allows small birds to enter and feed. To view photos click on http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3393612047/  &  http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/3393531857/in/photostream/  ) Another style has a spring-weighted platform that closes a door over the feeding holes when a heavy squirrel is on it. Other feeders roll over, like a floating barrel, when something heavy lands on it, causing squirrels to fly off while the seed is safe in the hub of the device. Yet others hold seed beneath a grid that allows birds to reach the seed, but prevents squirrels from accessing it.
     One ingenious style offers great entertainment. Should Squodent slip down the tube feeder to the battery-operated weight-sensitive perch, his weight will cause the feeder to rotate vigorously, slinging him into space. This pricey item has been dubbed the “squirrel slinger.” Its action is vigorous and the $120 price tag may be worth it just to see Squodent defeated by the perch.
     A major focus of bird lovers is preventing the loss of sunflower seed, which tends to be more expensive than other seed and which attracts the greatest variety of birds. It is also Squodent’s favorite seed.
     Filling the bird feeder with nyjer (thistle), safflower or white millet seed will reduce Squodent’s interest, as he doesn’t seem to care for these seeds. Although this limits the types of birds at the feeder, many different species will utilize the feed—cardinals, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and grosbeaks like safflower seeds, while finches and siskins are fond of niger seeds.
    Another feeding trick avoids the use of mixed bird seed, since birds tend to throw the seeds they do not like on the ground, where it will attract squirrels.
     Another squirrel preventive technique is to add a tray to the bird feeder. This minimizes seed from spilling on the ground, a spillage that is attractive to Squodent.
     Sprinkling cayenne pepper around the bird feeder area (replenishing it after a rain) can discourage Squodent, since, although it doesn’t bother the bird’s pallet, is distasteful to squirrels. A small amount of cayenne pepper—a tablespoon of cayenne pepper to ten pounds of bird seed—can also be mixed in with the birdseed to discourage Squodent, but not the birds. One recipe for a pepper spray to sprinkle over the seed: soak a lot of habaneros (or other cheap, hot, dry pepper) in a plastic five-gallon bucket in the sun—the more it stews, the better it works. Drain off a small amount, dilute it with two parts water to one part pepper sauce, and spray the seed, nut cakes, and suet.
     Pepper seasoned suet cakes etc. can also be purchased commercially.
     Another technique for squirrel control is to trap them using peanut butter in the traps, then relocate them. This is a temporary solution, since a yard with bird feeders is prime squirrel real estate, and in only take a few months the squirrel population will regroup.
     Then there is the “final solution”—dispatching them to heaven. Squirrels reputedly make great stew. However, this is also only a temporary solution, and you could get mighty sick of eating this diet.
     Nature itself helps, somewhat. Occasional visits from fox and red-tailed hawk help keep the population under control.
    In any battle, it’s said if you cannot beat them, join them. Research shows that squirrels are very territorial. Feed them continuously, away from your bird feeders, and they will mark the area as their own and protect it from other squirrels entering the area. Their favorite foods, in order of preference, are whole raw peanuts, sunflower seed or whole or cracked corn. In that order!

SOURCES:
http://www.stokesbirdsathome.com/birding/feeding/feedingpages/feeding102.html
http://www.birdsforever.com/squirrels.html
http://www.asktheexterminator.com/Squirrels/Squirrel_Proof_Bird_Feeders_printer.shtml
http://www.squidoo.com/keep-squirrels-off-birdfeeders
http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/philjs/Stengl/LPNN/pdf/LPNN39.pdf
http://landscaping.about.com/od/helpforconsumers1/gr/bird_only.htm?iam=dpile_100
http://birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/squirrels_and_birdfeeders
http://www.plantanswers.com/squirrels_birdfeeders.htm
http://www.wild-bird-watching.com/Squirrels.html

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/

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3 Comments »

  1. I have a interest in birds and someone told me to check out you blog. It is a very informative blog.

    pepper spray

    Comment by Frankie Muhammad — October 5, 2010 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  2. Cayenne pepper. I have been involved with wild birds and such for around 20 years but have to say I have never herad os this little tip. Thanks for that and just shows you are never to late in life to learn. I am also tempted to agree with you about squirrel stew and just wondered if crow stew also tastes nice 🙂

    Comment by Enda McLarnon — December 27, 2010 @ 6:54 pm | 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 @ 4:47 pm | Reply


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