ACW Episode 60 – War and Peace

Seriously, I have issues with squirrels.

Earlier this year I took up backyard bird watching as a sort of informal hobby. I have a couple of birding books, a pair of binoculars that are just strong enough to let me peek in the neighbors’ windows see what’s going on in my own backyard and of course, a bird feeder loaded with black sunflower seed.

Plus three big fat honkin’ squirrels.

The original big fat honkin’ squirrel is a regular in our yard and was dubbed Lardo the Big-Butt squirrel because he liked to gorge himself pretty regularly at our feeder. A few months ago, he was joined by two friends, one of whom the kids have taken to calling Buffalo Butt, and the other of whom has so far remained nameless beyond me occasionally calling him “YOU *@#!ING SQUIRREL!” All three of these rotund little beasties seem to think I’m putting out bird feed for them and not the birds. WRONG!

In my ongoing campaign against the squirrels, I’ve tried a lot of different tactics. At first, I bought a baffle for the feeder pole, because that’s how the squirrels were getting into the feeder. They’d just shimmy up the pole, reach over to the feeder and dump a ton of seeds on the ground, emptying the whole damn thing within a couple of hours of me filling it. The pole baffle worked for a few months.

Then the little menaces discovered they could bypass the pole entirely by climbing up a nearby tree instead and jumping over to the arm the feeder hangs from. Due to the layout of the yard, there really isn’t any place to put the feeder that wouldn’t be close to a tree, so I couldn’t simply move it to defeat the squirrels. Instead, I tried making additional homemade baffles to put on the feeder arm – toilet paper tubes, which I had hoped would roll the moment a squirrel stepped on them and toss the critters off; a 2 liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off, slid over the cord the feeder hangs by, which I had hoped would prevent the squirrels from climbing down the cord to get to the feeder; an inverted milk jug, again with the bottom cut off, that I hoped would trap the squirrels inside when they came down the cord. None of it worked.

It got to the point where I’d stand at my dining room window, watching the feeder for invading squirrels, then beat on the glass and shout obscenities to scare the bloody things away. But eventually the squirrels learned to ignore even that.

There was no doubt about it. I was losing the war. But then a couple of weeks ago, I found a new squirrel-proof feeder. It’s a long, skinny, plexiglass-glass box encased in a wire frame. The plexiglass-glass box has little windows cut into it so the birds can get at the food, and the wire frame has perches on it for the birds to sit on while they eat. Oh, and the frame has these lovely decorative metal leaves on it, one just above each window. And the wire frame hangs on the box by a pair of springs…

Basically, what happens is this. The birds can sit on the perches and eat, but if Lardo and Co. clamber on, their big fat squirrelly behinds make the wire frame slide down so that the metal leaves cover the windows, effectively shutting them out of the feeder. I’ve seen this in action five times now, and so far it works like a charm. Lardo, Buffalo Butt and That *@#!ing Squirrel spend several minutes hanging on the wire frame trying to figure out how to get to the food, only to give up when they realize the birdie breakfast bar is closed to them.

So for now, I’m winning The War Against The Squirrels. To ensure there are no hard feelings, I’ve started putting out ears of dried corn in a handy little squirrel feeder. I don’t mind feeding the squirrels, you see. I just don’t want them in my bird feeder scaring off all the birds.

Of course now we’ve got some ducks that keep wandering through the backyard and raiding the squirrel feeder every time I turn around. I haven’t found a way to keep them out yet, but honestly, I don’t really care. Lardo and Company can fend for themselves. I’m sure they’ll figure out how to repel these new invaders.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. I love the contented look on your face in panel 2.

    The squirrels *will* find a way to get the food from the feeder. It may take some time, but the rewards are too high for them to give up.

  2. I’d only care about ducks now that I’ve gotten a lecture from Hampton water consveration people informing us that our feeding the ducks causes malnutrion and the ducks stick around and putmore fecal matter into our waterways, but eh.

    Wait till you start yelling at crows and blackbirds and grackles. Nasty birds, make a mess of everything – hate them almost as much as the squirrels, at least squirrels don’t make as much of a mess!

  3. We have several of the furry creatures hitting my feeders too. Between them and the big ol’ black birds the other birds don’t get much.

  4. Nobilis,

    Oh, I’m sure they will, but then that’s half the fun. I enjoy my little war with the squirrels. It keeps me on my toes. And only makes me look a little like the crazy neighborhood bird woman.


  5. Mich,

    I don’t encourage feeding the ducks. They just happen to get into the squirrels’ dried corn every now and then. I’ve mentioned to Hubster that the last thing we need is a yard filled with duck poop, so he may soon be on the bandwagon conducting his own war… against the ducks!


  6. Vince,

    We’ve had our share grackles, crows and red-winged black birds show up, but they haven’t been too bad. The shop owner of Wild Birds recommended switching feed for a while to safflower, noting that those birds don’t usually like safflower, but other birds have no problem with it. So I switch up the food every now and then. Seems to handle the problem.


  7. Just wonder how you would have felt if it were a raccoon? And yes, they will figure out how to get into a feeder.

  8. Tom,

    I’m not crazy about having raccoons in my yard. I know from experience they can do a lot of damage when trying to get at food. They destroyed the bins my dad uses to store his horse feed in. Plus I would worry about the risk of one biting one of my kids. There have been some cases of rabies in this area over the last few years.

    So no to raccoons. Squirrels can have the corn. Ducks I am not going to actively feed (they’re domestic, probably from a nearby farm and they can go back there). Wild birds I am happy to feed, and will probably start looking into bird houses before too long 😉


  9. easy solution for squirrels. . .Crossman pump action BB gun, hit the little sucker behind the ear BAM he’s fertilizer!! Works well on starlings and grackles both of which dont belong here. Some Idiot thought the new world needed all the birds from Shakesperes plays and introduced them to North America now they are driving out native songbirds. Time for target practice!

  10. Rick,

    Not my style to shoot at the critters, I’m afraid. I’m too likely to hit something I don’t want to hit, like the neighbor’s kids!

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