Ok any good internet and blogging guru who encourages SEO would like me to name this post “How to Squirrel Proof your Birdfeeder for $1”, but the title I have is way more applicable to the ridiculousness of the situation.
It started like this.
“Mommy let’s make more bird feeders this year!”
Me – “Mmm-kay…”
This is my first backyard in 21 years. And in these last two years that we have been living in suburbia, having a backyard has been eye opening to me as a life long resident of condos and apartments. Such as me learning about the ‘wildlife’ of suburbia. Garden bugs. Coyotes on school grounds. Wasps making their nests in every bird house you’ve hung up. Neighbours dogs trying to instigate fights with other neighbours dogs at 3 am when you have your window open and are trying to sleep. The mating calls of raccoons around the same time.
And of course birds.
For example – birds are messy creatures. They love leaving bird seed shells all over the lawn. My Pet Needs That, if i had any, kind of pampering that any animal would dream of. Among other fine remnants. We even get attacked by seagulls in our backyards. Bird feeders are a whole other debacle. Cleaning them. Oh man. Let me just say, if you can recycle it, recycle it. Or else invest in a power washer.
But nothing beats the damn squirrels.
You know the movie Over the Hedge where Steve Carrell voices Hammy the Squirrel? The squirrels here are like the combination of the idiot that is Hammy meets Hannibal Lecter. And they will stop at nothing to get into the bird feeders.
The first one we had hung was the rainbow one my daughter painted:
And I thought I was so smart hanging it off our top deck thinking they wouldn’t get to it.
Not only did they get to it and chew through the wood and destroy the actual bird feeder to get to the seeds, they clawed down our deck with their feet while hanging off of it in their attempts to get to the bird feeder.
Did I mention we put the deck up last year?
I was like to hell with this.
Since we have no 100 year old Maple or Oak trees that are super tall with long branches to hang a long cord with a bird feeder from, I thought let’s hang all our bird feeders off of a pole. Drilled some holes into a bamboo pole, stuck in some wooden dowels and hung the feeders off of that.
Yes that is an apple sauce jar with an embroidery hoop around it. I had a good picture of it. I have no idea where it went.
I thought I had solved the problem.
Ninja Squirrel Part 2. Climbing the pole. Seriously he’s like the extra for Mission Impossible.
Bamboo, FYI – terrible choice because bamboo has ridges. Great for making a Bean Trellis, terrible for bird feeders and keeping squirrels off of them. Oh and they ATE through the wooden bird feeder on the pole. Like it was sugar cane.
At this point normal people would tell their kids to find a new hobby other than bird watching but apparently when you’re really stubborn and pissed off that they destroyed your kids art project, you need to find a way to win.
Against a rodent.
So I went to the dollar store and picked up a clear salad bowl. Drilled a hole in the top. Then hung off it over a metal cage pipe style bird feeder. We moved it as far as we could off the plant hanger drilled to the fence, with 2 wooden blocks.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the $1 way to Squirrel Proof your bird feeder.
I held my breath for Exhibit C. I knew they’d try to make a play for it.
I was right.
I caught this guy one morning.
Damn this thing keeps moving around. This is so much effort!!
Bloody hell one Black Oil Sunflower seed after all that exercise?
Oh. Crap. The Paparazzi can see me.
And he never touched it again.
Squirrels – 2, Alex – 1…oh wait that’s a bad analogy. Never mind, I still won.
So instead, now we have this little guy and all of his family using it every morning. I think this is a Yellow Tit (seriously who thought that would be a good name for a bird?) or a Black Capped Chickadee.
And every morning this is our breakfast routine.
Did I mention we also now have a much cuter member of the rodent family in our yard?
We’ve nicknamed him Chip. He lives under our deck and loves when the extra seeds fall to the grass.
So take that you suburban Ninja Squirrels.
PS – if you want to read an excellent tale of just how far these guys will go, go read Lynne Knowlton’s story of when the squirrels in her neck of the woods took up residence in her treehouse all winter long as if it was a party at the Holiday Inn.