Episode-228- Not So Squirrel Proof After All

November 23rd, 2013

The birds in my backyard are loving the new bird feeders. They took to them very quickly and can be observed all day taking their turns gathering food. For the first time in my life I’ve stopped to observe birds and can now actually recognize a few species. Being a part of Cornell University Lab of Ornithology Project FeederWatch is a great way to become better connected to my backyard. Although I am sure the birds there got along fine prior to my support it certainly seems like my actions towards their well being is appreciated. So far I have observed and recorded Carolina  and Black Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Morning Dove,  American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Crow, Hawk and more. I look forward to editing and posting some more video soon. I think once I do you’ll know why I like my feeder designs so much. Yet as with all of my life endeavors and indeed as the rule of nature insists the Yin Yang of my aspirations and unintended results quickly become clear with little effort.

As I suspected my new bird feeders have not proven to be squirrel proof. If I actually tried to make the feeders squirrel-proof they would probably also be bird proof.  I guess I could improve the defensive posture by raising the wire from which they hang. However, that would make the feeders unreachable for refills and maintenance. For a brief moment I thought there was an agreement between the birds and squirrels that was going to last but I was wrong. It seemed at first that the squirrels were satisfied with whatever fell from the feeders as a result of birds picking their seeds. That seemed to be the case until today when I observed one greedy squirrel all curled up on the feeder stuffing its face full of sunflower seeds. I know such things are a fact of life and I don’t plan to eliminate any squirrels but I will search for a balance.

I tried to distract squirrels with some high strung peanut butter laced pine cones but the acrobats made such short order of them that it is not feasible to create such distractions indefinitely. I’m not sure what kind of havoc the squirrels will wreck on the new feeders and I refuse to stand by and watch helplessly. Instead I attempted to practice perseverance by reinforcing the wire meshing or hardware cloth that holds the seeds in place. I cut the perches shorter and I could eliminate them completely but some birds enjoy them as they allow for easy seed pecking. One thing I have neglected to do is to place hot pepper in with the seeds. I think that’s what I’ll do tonight and I’ll also throw in the crushed eggs shells. We’ll see if that balances the scales a little better.

A few days have passed since I began writing this and you can see that the squirrels seem to love habanero or at least they don’t seem to mind it. Now I have go remove the feeders again and try place a home made baffle between the line and the feeders. Maybe slide in a few more PVC pipes as well. It would be helpful if I can catch the squirrels in the act of moving to their perch on the feeders. Then I could think of some obstructions to further slow them down In the meantime the birds keep coming and I find watching them enjoy the feeder is almost as much fun as watching bees flying to and fro from their hive. You can get in the fun by getting to know the birds in yard with Project FeederWatch.


Song of the Day – Steele Pulse – Rally Round – Live from Gathering of The Vibes 2013

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