and I have a few bird friendly areas out in our yard. There are
some birdfeeders that we keep stocked year round. Once, at the
New York State Fair, we had the opportunity to build two birdhouses.
It was at an exhibit hosted by the state parks, and the houses
were generally set for bluebirds. Both have been mounted on poles
and are available for residents (though I have zero clue about
the application process involved and collect no rent).
me to ask if you meet both of these conditions: (1) Have at least
one birdfeeder in your yard. (2) Have a tree… just one tree… any
type of tree… visible from your house.
the answer to both is yes, then I feel quite comfortable believing
you have on occasion seen a squirrel or two out there enjoying
a meal. Because that’s basically the way it works. Install birdfeeder.
Squirrels show up.
the most part, we prefer discouraging the squirrels.
You ask why?
the potential damage.
can be bad around the house. They fly into windows when the sun
shines just right. They get into vents and ductwork. They poop.
though… they aren’t just clumsy and dumb and messy. They can be
there is a fancy word. Saboteurs. I’m using it because I think
anyone that has ever had a squirrel in their attic would approve
of any and all insinuations resulting from that very word. They
do seem to willfully… with malice and intent and disregard… damage,
destroy, and, yes, sabotage stuff.)
many houses, we have a deck out back and access to it from a door
in the kitchen. Every so often, we’ll be making breakfast or washing
dishes or any of a number of things, and we’ll look outside and
see a squirrel or two or three in the yard. And from whatever
imagination you can offer… picture them on the ground eating bread
crumbs… picture them dangling from the edge of the tray on a feeder…
picture them sitting on the railing of a deck eating seed and
such as if they couldn’t be any more comfortable if you had invited
them to join you and brought them a cup of coffee.
we go to the back door, unlock it and slide it open, and…
just one-word, one-shout, sends them scurrying into the brush
way off in the distance. Occasionally one will dart over to the
neighbor’s and up one of his trees. Every so often, one will pause
to provide a dirty over the shoulder look back. Always they leave
both find ourselves swaying in energy and emotion however.
squirrel way out in the corner of the yard, nibbling a bit, on
the ground and kind of alone while not really bothering anything?
Door might remain shut. Not worth the effort.
like it’s gnawing on the feeder or tearing it apart to get to
the seed? Swinging from a hook mounted on one of the posts for
the deck’s railing? This means war!
and off to the races.
we could just get one message across to them, I think things would
be fine. Something along the lines of we’ll put out food and you’re
welcome to it, just don’t go destroying any of our stuff. Might
need a bit of editing and some additional thought for the full
message, but it’s close.
so often, I’ll be outside, and the indicators are there. Might
be while scanning the lawn as I mow, and I spot some wood shards
under a feeder. Maybe I’m actually bringing out seed and suet
cakes, and find teeth marks.
been watching for the birds for a while. We’ve been enjoying the
birds for a while. Cardinals… blue jays… goldfinches… mourning
doves… hawks… woodpeckers… hummingbirds… and on and on. Even had
a few turkeys trotting across the lawn. I have yet to see… and
don’t believe… that any of these birds landed on one of the feeders,
reached out, and then deliberately tore apart the framework to
release the stock of seed inside.
squirrel? Damaging the feeders? Yes. Yes, that I believe. And
there’s the problem.
so often I find myself making assumptions about the squirrels.
That one… there… at the edge of the road. That one looks just
a little too healthy… a little too well fed. That one needs to
be stopped. That one needs to learn a lesson about territory and
in turn gets the mind racing a bit. After all… if you can’t explain
to a squirrel that showing up at the buffet is fine as long as
some respect for property is shown, then chances are good you
aren’t going to be able to explain permanently getting off my
yard. Which brings us to only one solution.