The squirrels have discovered my bird feeder again. I used to have a feeder suction cupped to the outside of the dining room window. The birds flocked to it, even getting all territorial and aggressive with each other over it. I swear, there was seriously bird gang warfare going on in my backyard over which birds could access the millet-y goodness inside the feeder. (What can I say? It’s a rough neighborhood!) Then one day I heard an extra big thump on the window. I looked up to see a squirrel sprawled across the feeder ledge, paws scrabbling for purchase. His body blocked the feeder ports, so he couldn’t actually get at the food. I laughed at the futility of his efforts, and figured that was an end to it. But no. Squirrels are wiley. A little while after that I found one of the feeder ports torn off the side of the feeder. I was able to replace it, and I figured it for a fluke. Then I came home one day to find the entire bird feeder upside down, twisted entirely around on its supports, the lid off and all the seed spilled on the ground beneath. That was the last straw. I took the feeder down until I could find something a little more squirrel-proof.
Then Ed gave me a bird feeder for Christmas. It was awesome, built with a cage around the seed with spaces big enough for birds to comfortably get through, but not squirrels. However, I needed something to hang it from. When I went shopping, I found that the store was having a 20% off all wild bird feeding stuff sale. Plus, there was the perfect feeder to take the place of my old one. This one had the perching posts mounted on springs. While birds are light enough to perch and eat, squirrels are too heavy. The perch gives under their weight, dumping them to the ground and coincidentally shutting a trap door across the feeding ports. There was a certain… satisfaction at the thought of thieving squirrels getting dumped. So I got it, along with an arm to fasten it to the deck, and lots of other bird feeding-related stuff. It took a little while for the birds to warm up to it, but pretty soon the gang warfare was on again.
However… yesterday I looked out my kitchen window to see the most horrible sight. A squirrel had found a way to circumvent the anti-squirrel protection. He was perched on the railing of the deck, snagging the bird feeder with one paw, and holding on to it while he stuck his entire head into the feeding port! Oh, I was mad! I used to think squirrels were cute, but all that fur doesn’t deceive me now! Little agents of evil. But they can’t beat me. I have a secret weapon up my sleeve. It’s called ground pepper. See, I’ve been told that birds don’t mind it, but squirrels can’t stand it. I just happen to have an industrial kitchen-sized cannister of it in my pantry, sitting around completely unused (I prefer to grind my pepper fresh when I need it). I marched myself right out to my deck, dumped a bunch of pepper into the top of the feeder, and stirred it in well with a wooden spoon.