Sunday, December 26, 2010

Outwitting Squirrels - Part 2

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last blog post. Between work and knitting projects, I haven't had much extra time lately. In fact, I finished my last Christmas knitting project yesterday morning at 7:30 -- just in time!! After this week's end-of-year rush at work, it looks like my schedule will be getting back to normal again and I'm looking forward to that. In the meantime, I'll see if I can get caught up on blog posts with stories and pictures I've stored for the past few weeks.

But first of all, I'll finish up with my last post about outwitting squirrels. Actually since we now have about 26" of snow on the ground, the squirrels are no longer a problem -- guess they just aren't able (or willing) to make their way through all the snow to get to my backyard and birdfeeders.

However, once the snow has gone, those clever bushytails won't be able to get to any of the tasty birdseed (with peanuts) that I'm now providing in my new Yankee Tipper birdfeeder -- the newest weapon in my squirrel proofing arsenal!

On the weekend after Thanksgiving, we took a trip down to the Mississippi to see the Tundra Swans. Unfortunately, most of the swans had already left for their wintering spot on the East Coast, so we had some extra time to stop at Bauer's Market in LaCrescent to shop for some apples. Lucky for me, they had all their birdfeeders on a 30% off sale! For any of you who have ever looked at one of these feeders, you know how expensive they are, but with the sale, I was able to purchase this feeder for the remarkable price of $70! Cha-Ching! Saving money always makes me :-)

This feeder holds 5 lbs of "Cardinal Delight" birdseed. Not only do cardinals like it, but ALL my birdies (and squirrels) do too! Since I don't have to worry about squirrels anymore, this feeder is now hanging from a tree branch right outside my dining room window.
This photo is from Nov. 30 -- it's nice to remember how the backyard looked before the snow!

I really like this feeder but there was one major flaw -- the platform that the birds perch on was very smooth and incredibly slippery plastic so the birdies (especially bigger birds like cardinals) had a really difficult time trying to perch and pick up seeds. Something had to be done.......
Female purple finch & goldfinch

I thought briefly about covering the platform with duct tape, but decided that would look kind of tacky. After watching the bird's feet slip all around on the platform, I decided that what they really needed was something to perch on. So I cut apart a dowel (about the same diameter as the perches on my other birdfeeders) and hot glued the pieces on the feeder platform.
As you can see, the birdies definitely approve -- and doesn't it look much better than duct tape? Attendance at the feeder has improved remarkably! In fact, I've even had to refill this feeder already! I'm happy to be able to provide this delicious birdseed and see all the birds up close. It will be even more fun to watch what happens the first time a squirrel tries to raid this feeder.
Here's one of those little house finches that's more of an orangey/yellow color -- I don't see them very often at my feeders. I remember when I worked at Wild Birds Unlimited, people would sometimes report them as orioles at their feeders.....

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!


Mary said...

Well, Ruthie, you are so resourceful, handy, and brilliant! I would definitely pay to have one feeder out there that the regular yard birds can enjoy and not worry about the squirrels raiding it like they do with everything else. I have 11 feeders and they bother all but 3.

Would Pigeons have hard time on that feeder? They raid quite a few of mine, also. Then, there are Starlings... boo hoo. ;)


RuthieJ said...

Hi Mare,
Couldn't tell you for sure about pigeons since I don't have any (I think they're all living at nearby farms), but I've never seen a MODO on this feeder and I bet a pigeon would be too big also. My starlings seem to have disappeared for winter also -- they aren't even raiding the peanutty suet anymore!

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

This is the only Droll Yankee feeder I refuse to sell because people are disappointed by the performance. The tray is slippery and it tips after snow collects on it.

After one was returned to the store I took it home to test it. It was so sad watching the Mourning Doves do the splits on the plate to eat breakfast. When it emptied I put back my Brome Squirrel Buster Plus.

I hope your dowels work out. If not, you should write the company so they'll improve the feeder. You are exactly right; just a little bump in the plastic would help the birds but still not act as a handle for the squirrels.

Penelope said...

Great idea to add the dowels, Ruth. As the Wizard of Oz would say, "Verrrrry resooooourceful!"

Penelope said...

Oh, and good to see you back again! We missed your posts. Happy new year, Ruthie!

Richard said...

Good solution with the dowels. I was going to suggest the self sticking stair strips that come in 1" size that would keep you from slipping.

Gaelyn said...

Wow, that is one Huge bird feeder, and pricey too even on sale. 5 lbs of seed seems like you shouldn't have to fill so often. But then, you do have a lot of hungry birds around with all that snow.

Glad to see you back around. Hope you had a Great Christmas!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Sarah,
I was surprised with all the snow we've had recently that the tray held up just fine. The dowels are working out just great and I don't see where the squirrels would have any advantage at getting to the seed by being able to hold onto the dowel perches.

Thanks Penny. Happy New Year to you also!

Hi Richard, I thought about those stair strips too, but the dowel was esier to find at Fleet Farm.

Hi Gaelyn,
All of the Droll Yankee feeders are kinda pricey, but they have a lifetime guarantee. I have some in the backyard that are probably 25 years old and still feeding birds just fine.

Jayne said...

What a great addition to the feeder Ruthie! So creative! It looks like it did just the trick. :c)