Monday, October 8, 2012


I don't know what to do. Half my 50-lb. bag of black oil sunflower seeds went to Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Red and White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice...or Titmouses...
whatever. The other half of the bag went to the squirrels! I hung my birdfeeder with 90 lb. testline, threaded through golf club tubes, and laughed as the seed stealers fell off the line. That lasted one day, then, the squirrels learned how to deftly shiny over the tops of the golf club tubes, without spinning them around. They got the last laugh...I felt so squirrely!  Oh well, I get a kick out of them. 

They are fascinating creatures. The groundhog is really a type of squirrel and they control their body temperature with their tails. Most of these bird feeders marauders have yellow-tinted eye lenses that work like sunglasses to reduce glare and they can turn their hind feet completely around when climbing down a tree...or bird feeder pole...head-first. Some claim they are the "most watched" mammal on the planet.

Their diversity is astounding. There are 278 species that raid bird feeders in all continents except Antarctica and Australia, and they vary in size from the lumbering 18-pound gray marmot to the graceful pygmy flying squirrel that is smaller than most mice. In many parts of the world they readily share human habitats, joining us for lunch in a city park, raiding our bird feeders, and sneaking into college dorm rooms through open windows. So, do you consider them pests or do you love them as an endearing amusement? Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, here's some non-lethal resources to keep them off your bird feeders:

Interestingly, squirrels have played important roles in trade, literature, and mythology from the time the first ones appeared about 36 million years ago to the present day.  So, I do favor these greasy @$%&@# bird feeder marauders a little bit. But, I like birds more, especially when they gorge on my sunflower, thistle, cracked corn and millet during a hard-frosted winter. I attempt to keep the birds around when autumn arrives, so I stock my feeders well... but my actions  catch the eye of the neighborhood squirrels. 
They  must stay up all night for a planning meeting and devise a daring escapade that relies heavily on their deep understanding of physics and their willingness to launch themselves into the air and onto the roofs of my bird feeders.