This metal nutbox is another one of my "sale" items purchased while I was a Wild Birds Unlimited employee. Even though there were no squirrels visiting my yard two years ago when I mounted this box to a tree, I was reasonably certain that some day I would have some squirrels intelligent enough to figure out how to use this cute little feeder
Earlier this spring, one squirrel began showing up regularly. I noted (from close scrutiny through binoculars) that this squirrel was a female who was feeding little ones. I started putting some pecans in the shell out in the ground feeding tray and she would come and bury all those nuts in the yard.
Well, lo and behold, several weeks later, some more squirrels started showing up. They were gray squirrels, a little smaller than my regular visitor, and I assumed they were her children.
Then I got curious....what if I put some peanuts in the nutbox on the tree? Will they figure it out? Maybe I'll put some on the outside porch and then a few inside to see what happens?
Those nuts were there for a few days and then one day I checked after work and all the nuts were gone with only shell debris on the ground below. Oh cool, I thought, they've figured it out.
Then I started filling it with the pecans plus peanuts in the shell.
Of course I was at work all day, but one Saturday when I was out pulling some weeds, I heard the little metal lid go "clink." Sure enough, there was a squirrel sitting on the front porch.
Some of the squirrels are a little possessive of the nutbox, so sitting on top of the lid prevents any other squirrels from getting inside!
Now I know those of you with squirrel infestation problems are probably just shaking your heads and saying, "Ruthie, you don't know what you're getting into," and maybe some day I will regret encouraging these squirrels, but for now, they seem to be behaving themselves and if they get in too much mischief, I just let the dogs out to remind them not to get too comfortable around here. (Of course, they're much too quick for my dogs to catch, but everyone gets a little thrill for a few minutes!)
And really, why would I want to give up such entertaining sights as these?
In case you're wondering what that orange cord is, it's an extension cord I've got plugged in to a light that's secured to a branch in the tree. The light's on a dusk-to-dawn timer and shines on the ground feeding tray under the tree....to illuminate any nighttime critters (deer, foxes, and raccoons) that might happen to be visiting when I get up in the middle of the night to take the dogs out.