JIM DAVIS: Readers Offer Advice on Squirrel Issue
Several weeks ago I wrote a column recounting my struggles with a diabolical squirrel that is determined to steal the birdseed that I put out for my little feathered friends.
He (or maybe she) is resourceful, determined, fearless, and annoying beyond measure. He is also a glutton.
In the column, I described the steps I've taken to try to defeat the critter. I moved the window feeder to where I didn't think he could reach it; he reached it. I put Tabasco sauce around the feeder; he liked it. I sprayed WD-40 so he would slide off the window frame; he dug in his little nails. I pruned the bush he was using as a jumping-off point; he just jumped from farther away.
I've written lots of columns over the past couple of years, and often I get comments from readers. I was surprised, however, by the large number of responses from friends and strangers about my squirrel saga.
Here are a few thoughts advanced by interested readers, followed by an update as to where the battle stands now.
Several people told me that they personalize the furry little invaders by giving them names. One correspondent calls his adversary "Rambo." Another names hers "Slappy."
Personally, I don't think this is such a hot idea. I don't want to get that familiar with the little beasts.
One person advised me to throw things, possibly golf balls, at the marauder. He did have the good sense to point out that I should be careful in the use of this technique because the feeder which the squirrel attacks is attached to my kitchen window. Scratch that idea.
More than one writer told me that birds like safflower seeds, but squirrels don't. Now there's something I might try, but it sounds expensive. Also, I don't believe my squirrel is that picky. I think he'd eat peach pits if he thought that would annoy me.
Let me tell you some of the new steps I've taken in this little war. I've given up on the window feeder. The squirrel is just too smart and too athletic for me in that venue.
I went to the hardware store and bought a hanging feeder. This device feeds the birds through four little doors at the bottom of the bin. There's a perch on which the birds stand to eat, but if the squirrel gets on it, his weight shuts down the doors.
I screwed a hook into the branch of a tree and hung up the feeder. This was no challenge at all for the squirrel. He hung from the branch by his heels and ate without making the doors close. Then he shook the branch, causing some seeds to fall out onto the ground.
I went back to the hardware store and got a long metal pole with a hook on top. I sank the pole into the ground and suspended the feeder from it, thinking that surely the squirrel couldn't climb the narrow pole.
I didn't know whom I was dealing with. He shinnied up the pole easily and stuck his nose into one of the doors.
A couple of shots of WD-40 cured that problem, but when I tried to move the pole to another part of the yard so we could see it better from our Carolina room, I couldn't grip it because I had made it so slippery. I pried it up and got it moved, and now I think I finally have the upper hand. The squirrel is reduced to scarfing up the seeds which the birds drop, and that's OK with me. I'm not totally heartless, you know.
I think I'll declare victory and say the war is over.
Excuse me, but I have to go now. The squirrel's back, and he's brought two friends with him. They seem to be plotting something.
I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.
Jim Davis is a Pinehurst freelance writer. He may be reached at email@example.com.
More like this story