For more than twenty years I have been combatting squirrels in my backyard, engaging in a battle of wits. Guess who’s winning?
Here are some of the suggestions I’ve used, garnered from books, booklets, internet sites, and product information:
Recommendation: Place bird feeder on a metal pole at least eight feet off the ground.
Response: I hardly need to dignify this with a response. The squirrels scramble up the poles. No problem.
Recommendation: Install a wrap-around metal cone on the pole as a baffle to prevent squirrels from reaching the feeder.
Response: Squirrels require less than 24 hours to find their way around the metal baffle. Sayonara $28.72 plus shipping.
Recommendation: Buy squirrel-proof feeder, which according to the hype, works as follows: “Weight of squirrel closes access to seed ports.”
Response: And for squirrels that hang upside down and don’t touch the ports? Sayonara $48.99 plus shipping.
Recommendation: Grease pole with Vaseline.
Response: Good for human entertainment but not much else. On the first few attempts, the squirrel manages to make it halfway up the pole, then slides to the bottom like a cartoon character. After that, he gets a better running start and/or his attempts result in rubbing much of the Vaseline off. Makes great YouTube videos.
Recommendation: Make sure feeders are at least 8 feet from the ground and any jumping off-point.
Response: Take it from me, they can jump more than 8 feet. especially from launching points such as tall shrubbery or my roof.
Recommendation: Buy an air rifle and shoot the little devils.
Response: C’mon, this is a battle of wits, not firepower.
Next we come to a category I’ll call Inspirations, because I didn’t read about them anywhere. I thought them up on my own.
Inspiration: Disassemble a set of brass wind chimes. Wire the chimes to the bottom of the feeder so when the weight of the squirrel hits the feeder, a mighty clanging will scare him out of his wits.
Result: Works beautifully the first time. Then the squirrel chews the four wires loose so the chimes hit the ground with a thud. Game over.
Inspiration: Buy a water bazooka, load it, and keep it next to window. When squirrel lands on bird feeder, aim and fire.
Result: Water bazooka leaks all over desk, soaking my smartphone. Besides, my aim is lousy.
During my Internet research on how to foil squirrels, I read the following:
“Squirrels are fast and agile, and have high-twitch muscle. They can grip many surfaces, swivel their hind feet backward, and pretty much go wherever they want. That’s why it’s so hard to keep them away from your birdfeeder or house. In fact, you almost have no hope.”
I know, I know.