I used to like squirrels.¬† They’re adaptable, resourceful little creatures.¬† And so cute when they eat.¬† I used to love watching them take staccato bites from a morsel held in their front paws, and chew it faster than I ever could.¬† And that tail–jaunty and luxuriant at the same time.
Sure, squirrels can be cute.¬† But now I hate them!¬† I know that’s strong language.¬† But I have good reason.¬† They have forced me to give up feeding birds in a feeder on our window!
For quite awhile, I had a see-through plastic bird feeder stuck to our living room window.¬† What fun it was to sit on the couch and watch a titmouse or a chickadee perch on the rim of the feeder, pluck out a sunflower seed, and fly off with it.
But this pleasing entertainment was not to last.¬†¬† After awhile I would occasionally hear a crashing sound from outside, in front of the living room window.¬† Looking up, I saw only two suction cups left on the window, with no feeder attached.
Damn.¬† Once outside, I fumed to see on the walkway the feeder, scattered birdseed, and a squirrel scampering away.
Okay, I thought. I’ll just have to make it impossible for squirrels to leap onto the feeder and knock it down.¬† So I stuck the feeder back onto the window, only higher up this time.¬† For a few days, I saw no sign of squirrel activity.¬† I felt pretty smart to have beaten these guys.
But my smugness was short-lived.¬† Soon a determined squirrel figured out how to jump a little higher.¬† Down crashed the feeder again.
But how, I wondered, did the crafty squirrel manage to leap onto the feeder?¬† Then I noticed that part of the outside edge of one of the shutters framing the window was missing.¬† A big piece had been gouged out.¬† What could have caused that kind of damage?¬† Oh, I get it.¬† That #%!* squirrel had gnawed away part of the shutter to make itself a perch, closer to the feeder, from which to leap!¬† What a little bastard!
Was I mad!¬† Because of a greedy, determined squirrel, I was not only missing out on watching the birds, but I had to buy a new shutter.¬† In the coming days, I monitored the shutters for signs of squirrel mischief.¬† Fortunately, the new shutter was still intact.¬† But even though the squirrels weren’t gnawing the shutters, they were still getting to the feeder.¬† Finally, the feeder was so battered from its many crashes, so cracked and chipped that I was compelled to throw it in the trash.¬† I’d been defeated.
But I missed the birds!¬† And I couldn’t let some little squirrels beat me.¬† Surely I could find some way to prevail.¬† So I vowed to try again, and I asked for a new bird feeder for Christmas.¬† My niece and her family gave me one.¬† And I liked the looks of it.¬† Its ‘conquistador helmet’ shape suited my sense of resolve.¬† With this feeder, the birds and I would win!
All too soon, those squirrels figured out that the free food was back.¬† I would hear a thud, not as loud as the crash of a feeder being knocked down, but not the soft thud of a bird’s feet landing on the feeder’s edge either.¬† Rushing to the scene, I saw a squirrel sitting in the feeder, its well-fed body filling the feeder almost completely.¬† As it stuffed itself with seeds, I could swear it gave me a taunting look.¬† Only my most threatening sounds and gestures could rouse him from his feast.
Thinking that the squirrel was getting into the feeder from the top of the ‘conquistador’s helmet,’ I thought that if I made the top of the feeder slick with Crisco, the squirrel could not hang on and would give up.¬† I wasn’t happy about marring my cool-looking feeder by slathering shortening on its top, but if it would stop the squirrels, I was willing.
The Crisco ploy seemed to work for awhile.¬† I rejoiced cautiously.¬† But it wasn’t very long before the squirrels were using the feeder as their personal dining room and dinner at the same time.¬† And then I noticed that two big holes had been torn into the screen adjacent to the window with the mounted feeder.¬† So now these guys were ruining the screen too.
Was I bummed.¬† Now we had to replace a screen too.¬† Nothing I’d tried had kept the squirrels away for long.¬† Sadly, I took down the ‘conquistador’s helmet’ smeared with Crisco.¬† I wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it away.¬† I hate to admit I’ve been defeated by squirrels, but it’s true.¬†¬† Who wouldn’t hate them after all that?–April Moore