The most frequent visitor to my bird feeder isn’t exactly a bird. Squirrels love birdseed and unless your feeder is suspended from the Goodyear Blimp, you will have a squirrel or two hanging around.

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For a long time I was determined to out-smart them and devised a number of “squirrel-proof” feeders. Unfortunately, nothing I’ve invented so far has taken more than 30 minutes for the squirrels to master. (By the way, the term ‘squirrel-proof’ is not listed in any dictionary or science book.) Very soon I noticed the score was squirrels 6, me 0.

In order to get at food, squirrels can jump amazing distances from not-so-near-by trees, slide down nylon thread, swing upside down hand-over-hand along the clothesline and, with great delight, climb over, under or through so-called squirrel guards or baffles.

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Commercial squirrel-proof feeders can be bought, but a really good one costs as much as a small television set. It’s much cheaper just to sit at your window and watch ‘squirrel vision’ as they analyze and disarm your clever deterrents.

Seed and feed stores sell concoctions of birdseed and red peppers under various cute names like Squirrel Off! or Go Squirrel Go! The theory is that this spicy mixture (which doesn’t bother the birds because they have no taste buds) will send your unwanted diners screaming to the neatest puddle.

In the interest of science, I gave one of these guaranteed mixtures a try. Sure enough, one quick sniff and Mr. Squirrel backed off, jumped down the feeder and patiently ate all the seeds on the ground previously split by the birds. Once this supply was gone, it zipped back up the tree, climbed over the stainless steel squirrel guard, slid back down the wire to the feeder head-first and ate a good meal of treated seeds with no apparent ill effects.

Squirrels 7, me 0!

The moral of this tale is to “give up.” To fight them is futile, but watching them can be a lot of fun.

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For more information on this topic, or any other nature-related subject, contact us.

Written by Floyd Elliott

* Thanks to the Sarnia Observer who originally published this series and granted LWI permission to use it online.

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