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Super Squirrel!

Super Squirrel!

My husband and I enjoy the company of wild birds, and put out feed for them year-round. During these cold wintry days, we are especially careful to put out lots of feed for the local wildbird population, including suet and different types of seeds. Their water bath is neglected during the times when temperatures are ranging from single digits to low 20s, in favor of an insulated water bowl placed on the ground. That bowl is refilled periodically throughout daylight hours with tepid water for our feathered friends. As anyone who provides feed and water for wild birds knows, however, the birds aren’t the only creatures attracted to the tasty buffet. Here in town we don’t worry so much about attracting deer, skunks, raccoons and possums stealing the food intended for avian company. No, instead of larger four-footed thieves, we get squirrel visitors who seem to be able to outwit any device or practice designed to keep them from the bird food. We tried hanging the feeders on long lines suspended from the branches of our pecan tree. The squirrels would first raid the pecan tree in warmer weather until they tired of that operation, and then shinny head-first DOWN the line to hang upside-down and grab all the sunflower seeds and peanuts they could reach from the bird feeder. Then we tried putting the feeder on top of a tall, skinny metal pole, thinking they wouldn’t be able to shinny UP the pole because it was so slippery. WRONG again! Those ornery little critters went right up the pole in nothing flat, and proceeded to once again empty the “bird” feeders. Then, we tried greasing the pole. That only proved more interesting to the squirrels, and they merely licked the grease off the pole. My husband did thwart them for a time, though, by taking down the pole, removing the feeder, and dropping 2-liter soda bottles onto the pole up to a height of about 6 feet. He had first drilled holes in the bottom of each bottle just big enough to go around the pole. The bottle openings were also just big enough to allow the plastic bottles to drop down in the same manner. The feeder was re-installed on top of the pole and it was reset in the ground. Hooray – we thought we had finally prevailed! When the squirrels would jump up and try to climb the pole, the bottles would spin crazily and the squirrels would be tossed off in frustration. I swear, though, there must be a squirrel version of Einstein. One of them sat in a tree adjacent to the offending bird-feeder-topped pole for a couple of days, cogitating in squirrel fashion. Then, with a gleam in his eye, that devious little squirrel finally moved from his perch on a heavy limb, out to it’s very twig-end, and took off in a flying leap – right onto the top of the feeder. That had to be a distance of almost 20 feet. After that there was no stopping them. Once observed, well taught seems to be squirrel school mantra. That one calculating squirrel seemingly passed the word along – flying is the way to go. And – fly they did. Giving in to the inevitable, we now provide the hungry furry long-tailed creatures with their own source of food, on the ground. The squirrels provide amusement for us, and the birds are left in relative peace to consume the food that is put out for them. Check back later for tales about a yellow “corn cob” VW auto, and commuting squirrels. (picture courtesy of National Bird Feeding Society)

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2 thoughts on “Super Squirrel!

  1. I had to laugh while reading about your flying grey squirrels. Yours with the SuperMan costume must be a cousin to my backyard varmit. I tried with sucess using plastic 1/2 liter Gatorade bottles and Coke cans drilled and able to spin on a long aluminum outreaching pile from which our birdfeeder hangs. The pole has to be longer than the flight distance of Super Squirrel. It’s taken me years to outsmart those pesky critters, bit it’s more fun to watch the squirrels than the birds.

    • I laughed when I read your note! :>) The squirrels are fun to watch. If you look at another of my more recent posts, you’ll see that I’m handfeeding 8 of those little critters now – they were orphaned before they were 4 weeks old. They are mostly, thank-goodness, weaned now but it will be several more weeks before they’re ready to go back in the wild. Thank you so much for reading the post!

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