Sunday, August 22, 2010

Timeless Battle Now In My Backyard

For years now I have had bird feeders hanging on my deck that were squirrel proof.  You see, I have a Florida Cracker style home with overhanging eves and I learned if I hung the feeders from under the eves, the squirrels had no way to get to them.

Oh they would try.  Every trick in the book.  They would climb up the window screens and leap, but it was too far.  They would leap from the deck rail, but it was too far.  They would get on the roof and try to hang down and swing over to the wire holding the feeder, but it was too far.  They would make kamikaze free falls from the roof, to no avail. It's not at all unusual for me to be watching TV and out of the corner of my eye see a squirrel falling past the window in another failed attempt.  Thump!  Onto the deck.

What a great feeling it is to know you have out smarted a squirrel.  I was content.  Even smug.

Then, a few days ago a big commotion erupted in the living room.  The dogs were raising hell and definitely after something.  I ran from the study to see what was going on.

It turned out that a squirrel had figured out that if he ran up the window screen and leaped at the bird feeder that even though he couldn't get into it, he could at least hit it and knock some of the seeds out.  Of course, the actual leap was preceded by several attempts as the dogs, attended by ferocious growling and barking, attacked the window and the squirrel, less than an inch away, lost his nerve and bailed out.

Dogs and squirrel, face to face.
Finally, after enough of this, I simply took the screen out of the window.  Confused, the squirrel made several attempts at an impossible to hold onto glass surface, and gave up.

And then it happened.   I nearly dropped my chips and dip, and did spill my beer as I walked into the living room and saw it... a squirrel sitting in the bird feeder happily munching away.  How could it be?

I immediately ran over and banged on the window causing the little bugger to leap for his life.  For hours thereafter I watched to see how he did it, but every time he would get onto the window screen, the dogs made another mad, noisy rush to the window and scared him off.  Finally, he figured out that the dogs couldn't hurt him and the drama played itself out.

Squirrel on deck rail checking out the feeders above.  Dogs at the ready. 

It turned out that the squirrel had figured out that if he ran up the screen diagonally and leaped as hard as he could, he could reach the Promised Land.

Squirrel on a flyer.

Oh well.  So now I have two screen-less windows... and some peace and quiet.  I no longer feel so smug as I've yet to figure out a permanent solution but I have learned that animals are creatures of habit and once the squirrel has reconciled himself to being unable reach the feeders, I can put the screens back until about six months from now when he figures it out all over again.

Don't feel too sorry for him however.  I feed the squirrels handfuls of sunflower seeds every morning and afternoon when I put the bird seed out.  They can't have it all.


  1. Jesus, it sounds like Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom every time I come over here. Snakes, rats, squirrels, snarling dogs. What's next, gators eating your livestock?

    However, you might as well accept your fate with the squirrels. We have the same problem here with the bird feed and the little piss ant, bastard, smarty ass, bushy tailed rats...squirrels. And it's not so much the loss of the bird feed, as it is their attitude. It's not enough that they outwit you and every scheme, but then the fuckers, give you that fuck you look, twitch the tail and chow down RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.

    But here, they not only go for the bird seed, but exposed cables as well. Road Runner was out here so often last year that they finally buried them in trenches. I share your bird feeder pain.

  2. I woke up with a squirrel in my bed. No joke. And I was sober when I went to sleep the night before.

  3. Thanks Kylie

    JJ... I've already got it figured out. All I have to do is raise the feeders a little bit so they're just out of reach... My father finally resorted to electricity.

    EOR... That's a good one. Does the word peyote mean anything to you?

  4. The Mutual of Omaha comment had me laughing my ass off. What a gorgeous window into your backyard. Such lushness around you! So here's a post very similar (though not nearly as entertaining) about this drama in my backyard...

  5. I love everything about this story: the dogs, the inventive squirrel, the photos. Nature always finds a way. Just wait, that squirrel's not done yet.

  6. Awesome tale! Tickled my crusty eyes wide open this a.m. :)

  7. Thanks for all the nuts.

  8. You totally outsmarted a squirrel? Not. That's impossible. At the risk of being irreverent, have you seen a squirrel's nuts? Squirrel nut size = chutzpah = finding a way.

  9. Crafty little buggers. I gave up with my bird feeders and set up designated squirrel feeders on the other side of the yard. So far, so good. They have even stayed out of my veggie garden.

    Great photo captures!

  10. I really like the pics, they tell part of the story. I think it's cool of you to slip the squirrel some sunflower seeds.


Sorry about the comment thingy folks. Too much spam.