Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Outwitting Squirrels - Part 1

Here are a couple "long ago" photos of what my backyard wildlife habitat looked like in its early days. The planning had been done, the trees and shrubs were planted and there was nothing left to do but water the trees and wait for time to pass.......
All those years ago, this backyard was a much better bluebird habitat and squirrels were rare and exciting visitors.......

Fast forward to November 2010 (about 21 years after I planted the first tree in the backyard). In just the past year or so, my backyard has become very attractive squirrel habitat with plenty of large deciduous and evergreen trees and, best of all, lots of birdfeeders!

I'm sure most of you already know what cunning and intelligent critters these cute little bushytails are. While I enjoy watching them scamper and chase each other around the yard, I don't believe in giving them unlimited access to the delicious and expensive birdseed I buy for my "special" birds. (This seed contains shelled peanuts and sunflower hearts -- also a delicious favorite of squirrels!) After working at Wild Birds Unlimited for years and giving customers advice on how to outwit squirrels, I now find myself in the position of putting this advice to work in my own backyard.

The most effective deterrent at keeping squirrels out of the expensive seed in my tube feeders has been the cage that goes over the feeder. A weather dome on top also works to keep the chipmunks and red squirrels from getting in. I removed the seed catcher tray from the tube feeder too, so even if the smaller critters get through the cage, they have nowhere to sit and clean out the tube.

Last week I spotted this persistent (or maybe really dumb) squirrel trying its darndest to get to that tasty birdseed. I hope you enjoy this series of photos as much as I enjoyed outwitting this squirrel! (Be sure to click on any of the photos to enlarge them.)

In this photo the squirrel's head is at the left -- this squirrel has really distinctive, almost white, colored ears.

Their acrobatic skills never cease to amaze me.

Look at the concentration on bushytail's face as it desperately tries to figure out a way to that feeder!

Now it's trying to chew through the cage! Fortunately the mesh is very thick (although most of the green plastic has been chewed off the wire)

Now trying to figure out a way to get to the feeder tube from the bottom.

Look at how fat this squirrel is! I think it's already had plenty of birdseed.

Checking back the other way, bushytail finds out there's still no access to the feeder.

"Guess I'll just have to clean up underneath the feeder!"


Stay tuned for Part 2 of "Outwitting Squirrels" coming up in my next blog post.....


8 comments:

Kelly said...

Hahaha! I've seen the same wily squirrel in my backyard I think! ;-) They drive me nuts...but at least they are cute and entertaining.

KGMom said...

Oh, yes--we have this type of squirrel here in central PA also. I do love to watch them, then shoo them away.
We have our seeds in a big plastic container with a clamp "lock" lid. Of course, the squirrels figured out how to pop the lock. So, now a big stone pig statue sits on top.

Mollie said...

I love love love this series of squirrel pictures and your captions!! They really are persistent!! And truly, it doesn't look like it's even close to starving!! Thanks for sharing, Ruth!

Dave said...

LOL! Good stuff!!!

Ruth said...

Great set of photos. I have feeders that are not accessible to grey squirrels but the red squirrel has no trouble getting in. I don't know who depletes my feeders faster- squirrels or house sparrows :-(

Jayne said...

They are just so entertaining, aren't they? Gotta give them props for tenacity!

Anonymous said...

What's there not to like about squirrels, they are so entertaining, but at the same time so naughty. I love the squirrels we have they are so much fun to watch, and they never give up. They are always figuring out some way to get at the food.

MOM

Birdsong said...

Hate to say this publicly, Ruthie, but probably the best solution to squirrel troubles are predators that keep the population in balance, or at least scare your squirrels off....though I am eager to hear more about how you protect your feeders.