As I’ve documented in numerous posts, all I want out of life these days is to be able to sit on my deck, my trusty dog Toby by my side, and read a book while watching all the colorful birds that live in the trees behind our house.
To that end, I’ve put up two bird feeders and then deployed a variety of anti-squirrel devices to keep the resourceful rodents out of the seed.
We had the orange, artisanal bird feeder that our daughter’s boyfriend Alex got us for Christmas, and the green, supposedly squirrel-proof feeder that I purchased. Yet, every morning, I’d go out on the deck and there would be an exchange such as this between my wife Barbara and me:
Me: The squirrel’s in the feeder again.
Barbara: Which one?
Me: The gray one with the bushy tail.
I tried cone-shaped squirrel baffles and torpedo shaped squirrel baffles. Neither baffled the squirrels for very long. Then I tried to invent my own deterrents. I fashioned a sharply-spiked plastic feeder guard and Super-Glued it to the pole. The squirrels simply used the spikes as a ladder. When I saw a squirrel taking a flying leap onto the very metal cone-shaped apparatus meant to baffle him, I glued thumb tacks to its surface. But the friggin’ things managed to get past it anyway. I’m not sure how. I imagine a group of them huddled together at night over blueprints.
I then retired the orange feeder altogether and concentrated on the green one, thinking that since that was supposed to be squirrel-proof all by itself, it would give me a head-start. It works by means of a weighted perch: birds can sit on it and nothing happens, but a heavier squirrel will cause the counter-balance to close the feeder. I figure if a bear tries to eat from it, there will be a huge explosion, and Toby and I will come out on the deck in the morning to find bear guts all over the place.
And a squirrel in the feeder.
Just the other day, as I sat on the deck and witnessed the crime, a squirrel climbed the pole, leaped onto the back of the feeder, crawled around the side, and without touching the perch and triggering the counterweight, stuck only his head around the corner to eat the seed.
I swear the squirrels in our backyard escaped from a government brain-enhancement experiment.
And even as I glued covers over the two outside feeder holes so they’d have to step onto the perch, I announced to my family what I wanted for Father’s Day.
No, not a shotgun or an Uzi. Nothing that requires a license or, you know, training of any kind. I was thinking more of a simple BB gun, or actually a BB rifle.
Or maybe an Electric HFC Mini Full Auto AK-47 Rifle FPS-200 Airsoft Gun, which looks as though it was developed by the military, probably because they knew they’d have to hunt down genius squirrels that had escaped from their laboratories.
I made my request only half jokingly. Well, possibly only about an eighth jokingly. I could truly see myself sitting on my deck, trusty dog Toby at my side, book left inside the house, standing vigilant against the onslaught of voracious varmints, ready to aim and fire at anything gray that dared to come near my bird feeder, even if it was an old lady.
I’d show them deterrents, all right!
My family, however, had other ideas. They could not see me owning any sort of weaponry, including a water gun, without causing serious injury to myself or others.
So my daughter Casey went in another direction. She presented me with a large box, covered with the following note, which she had cripped from a website called birdsforever.com* (I’ve edited it a bit).
Let’s face it. If you have squirrels in your area, chances are they will assume EVERYTHING you put out is for them. It is a conspiracy of nature!…Squirrels can be cute and fun to watch until they dominate or even destroy one of your bird feeders!…You have two choices; you can beat ’em or join ’em: We prefer to join ’em. Research has shown that squirrels are very territorial. When fed continuously away from your bird feeders, they will mark the area as their own and protect it from other squirrels entering the area.
Inside the well-wrapped box was a squirrel feeder, the idea being that if I give the squirrels their favorite food over here, they’ll leave the bird feeder alone over there. I chose not to ask what would happen when the first “very territorial squirrel” protected the squirrel feeder from the other squirrels.
I could only hope for a steel cage match.
The feeder was fairly elaborate. There was a small covered compartment in which I was supposed to put peanuts, and a spike out in front on which I was supposed to install one of the “Sweet Corn Squirrelogs” that came with it.
I asked Casey what type of poison I should use. She was not amused.
So I installed the squirrel feeder on a tree some distance from the bird feeder. I noted that the wrapper of the Squirrelogs boasted that one of them replaced 12-24 ears of corn, and I wondered what sort of demented individual would actually spend time inventing such a thing as formed and packaged squirrel food and then I wondered if one log really did replace 12-24 ears of corn if Squirrelogs might be a solution for world hunger.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the next morning there were three squirrels in the bird feeder and the entire Squirrelog was missing. The damn squirrels had lifted it off the spike and dragged it away, possibly on a stretcher of their own devising.
I’m glad I made this easy for them; it would have been a lot harder to abscond with 12-24 ears of corn.
So now maybe I’ll get that Electric HFC Mini Full Auto AK-47 Rifle FPS-200 Airsoft Gun for Christmas. Although, once again, Casey has other ideas. She says what I really need is a life.
See you soon.
*If you’d like to buy a poster of the clever graphic used in this post, visit http://birdsforever.com/mugshot.html.