Anyone who puts out food for wild birds quickly learns that the squirrel food alert network is very efficient. Within hours, often before the birds find your new feeders, the squirrels are on site, shoveling sunflower seeds into their mouths as fast as they can. That’s pretty fast.
Some people actually like squirrels. That’s fine with me. If they want to feed expensive seeds and nuts to squirrels, let them go right ahead. Of course, their largess will encourage the production of more squirrels….
On the other hand, most bird feeders want to feed birds, not rodents. Banging on the window and waving your arms may alarm the neighbors, but it won’t faze the squirrels for long. So what’s a frustrated bird lover to do?
My daughter gave me Outwitting Squirrels, by Bill Adler, Jr., last Christmas, along with a bottle of hot pepper spray. While the pepper spray just proved that I have squirrels with an appetite for spicy food, the book has proven extremely helpful, and I laughed my way through each chapter.
Indeed, Adler does a very thorough job of discussing various ways in which to feed the birds and only the birds. At the same time, he freely admits that there is no perfect solution. Could we admit that squirrels might be smarter than we are? At least, they are more highly motivated, and therefore more persistent.
I particularly appreciated the chapter entitled “Know the Enemy: Everything a Bird Feeder Needs to Know About Squirrels.” I must say it gave me a new respect for the marauding tree rats.
At the same time, I don’t have room in my bird feeding budget for squirrels, and I now have some hope that I can exclude them from my feeders… at least most of the time.