Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saga of the Squirrels

I love watching the birds in our yard. Jays, finches, woodpeckers, robins, starlings, flickers, and more.  When we first moved in I set up a bird feeder on our upper deck. Then I added another. And another. I can see the birds from every east-facing window. We now have four different feeders and birds of every type and color visit us daily. 
Birds on tube feeder

Love this fluffed up little guy!

Bird waiting patiently for his food

Flicker at suet feeder

There was only one problem. The birds weren’t the only ones who liked the feeders. So did the squirrels. And even though our deck is two stories up from the yard, the squirrels didn’t seem to mind. They leaped from trees, jumped from the roof, and treated the feeders like their personal Old Country Buffet.  
This squirrel is quite the contortionist

He's just waiting for us to go away so he can eat in peace

I tried all sorts of things to get the squirrels to leave the feeders alone. Spicy hot chili pepper cakes in the suet feeder. Safflower seeds in another and thistle seed in the third. But those darn squirrels were persistent. 

I made a trip to the bird store. Bags of peanuts and corn-on-the-cob were stacked along one wall.  If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em. I bought a bungee squirrel feeder and hung it over the edge of the deck. It dangled a few feet off the ground. The first visitors were stellar jays. I heard the bells jingle and the wire snap and I peeked over the edge. I wasn’t sure whether to shoo them away or hope the squirrels were observing and taking notes. 

It took another day or two, but the squirrels finally figured it out. Every morning the jingle of the bells tells me the squirrels are busy swinging like acrobats on a high wire. I can’t help but laugh as they bounce up and down while pulling off kernels of corn.
Squirrel on bungee feeder

And the best part? They haven’t visited the feeders on the deck since.