Monday, July 13, 2009

At Odds with the Squirrels

As you learned in my last post, I've been adding a bunch of bird feeders to my backyard. This ought to be easy enough, yes? NO! I have a lot of trees in my yard for which I'm grateful, but I had no idea that squirrels could jump up to 10 feet from a tree or 4 feet from the ground. Each time I put up a feeder and went somewhere else, when I returned I either found a squirrel wrapped around it like a fur coat or found the feeder knocked down to the ground from the force of the squirrel's leap.

I had the feeders arranged in a visually attractive pattern, but had to keep moving things around. Three times a squirrel managed to knock the peanut feeder off its stand. Each time that little pest ran off with the entire feeder which I eventually found some distance away with its top removed and every single peanut gone.

The original arrangement, pretty but feeders too close to the trees

I bought clear plastic baffles, secured the feeders onto their posts with wire ties and hooks, substituted a chain for the hanger that had come with the feeders. Each time the squirrels outwitted me.

So I bought several sturdier posts and baffles and moved all the feeders onto the grassy area of my yard. Not too convenient for mowing, but at least there's a chance that we can hold onto the feeders. I have, however, already spotted a squirrel climbing onto a branch that's above one of the feeders. I can almost hear him planning his strategy and calculating the distance.

The new arrangement, hopefully no feeders within jumping range

But for now I've got tons of birds—house finches by the dozens, some cardinals, woodpeckers big and small, mourning doves, and a few other varieties.

One cardinal and two chipmunks in a spirit of cooperation all nibbling spilled seeds

So far only one goldfinch even though I bought a feeder with bright yellow on it which the woman at the store told me tricks the goldfinches, as they fly by, into thinking that other goldfinches are down there and that they'd better stop by for a free meal.

Speaking of free meals, notice how full this feeder is? Notice, too the house finches enthusiastically feeding.

The same feeder just a few hours later

What does any of this have to do with poetry? Nothing! At least not yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if a squirrel poem eventually emerges. After all, this battle has put me more in touch with Nature, honed my observational skills, and engaged me in conflict—all ingredients for poetry.

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1 comment:

  1. This is why I ended up with a half dozen blogs - it's not ADD, it's because I keep wanting to write about other things that seemed out of place.

    Years ago, I ended up trapping some squirrels after they broke into the attic and went nuts and ipped apart all the feeders. I think they are happier in the woods where they were released - though my son was very concerned back then that we might have broken up a family.


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