Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Squirrel Mafia

There is a gang problem in our neighborhood. There are about five or six of them. They are demanding and if they don't get their way, destructive. They exact their revenge quickly, to make sure we know who is boss. They are the Squirrel Mafia.

When we first moved here, we decided that since Bubba liked to watch the birds out the window on the back porch, we would get a bird feeder for the tree outside the playroom window. We didn't know what trouble we were inviting to our yard.

At first we only saw a squirrel once and a while, and his lackey, the chipmunk. They would come to the other feeder on the back porch from time to time and eat, the chipmunk stuffing all he could into his pouches before swan diving into the bushes when my mom came out to chase him away.
"Let him eat." I'd say. "They are cute, and they are hungry too."
She warned me that they would steal all of the food, leaving none for anyone else. 
Little did I know.

Day after day the feeder would empty quicker and quicker. Some days it would be empty right after morning nap. He would stare in the window at me like he was saying, "Hey, lady! Where's my grub?!" I would refuse to fill it til the next morning.

Then the destruction started. Little pieces of plastic from the feeder scattered to the ground. Finally he tore off one of the stoppers and it just had an open hole in the bottom that seeds leaked through.

It was time for a new feeder. At Lowes, in the garden center I found a "Squirrel Resistant" feeder and figured it was worth a try. At least this one was made of metal and glass, so he couldn't tear it up like the last one. 

Anxiously, we put up the feeder and waited. Twenty minutes later the ring leader arrived and promptly started munching on seeds. Not even slightly "squirrel resistant".
Here is Bubba watching the squirrel and he seems to me to be saying,
"We were bamboozled!"

One or two rainy days in a row and I didn't go out to fill the feeder. They were not amused.
The next morning I went out and the feeder was on the ground the top hook that screws in still attached to the tree branch. Those tricky guys unscrewed it from the base. After the fall the feeder's wire frame is all bent out of shape and lopsided.

Our newest purchase was a suet feeder which is basically bird seed packed in lard, and it goes in this wire cage. We figured at the least it might slow them down, or give the birds something to eat while they squirrels hogged the feeder. 
The moment of truth, the lead squirrel went up to the suet and sniffed it. 
He looked in the window at me with distain. "What is this!?" 
As luck would have it squirrels are apparently not fond of suet.  
Or so I thought.

I began to notice larger and larger chunks of it missing over the next couple of days. 
Then I noticed a squirrel reach in and grab a chunk then lick the grease from his arms. 
Oh, well. There goes that.
The last couple of days have been particularly rainy, so I haven't filled the feeder. One morning I went out to find this:

Suet feeder chain dangling from the branch and the cage busted open on the ground. Entire suet block gone.
Their message is clear:
Remember to fill the feeder or destruction will follow.

I opened the back door to take a picture, everyone else ran, except this little guy.
He may be tiny, but he is fierce.

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