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Outwitting a Squirrel

When we first moved into our house, one of my brothers gave us a housewarming gift of several birdfeeders and birdhouses to put up in the yard.  One of these feeders in particular became a favorite of ours.  It was big enough to hold lots of sunflower seed, and the birds descended on it each winter in droves.  But it was made of wood, and the damp Tennessee winters took their toll.  This year we had to replace it with a prefab cedar wood feeder from Home Depot.  It has plexiglass on the sides instead of real glass, and it's smaller than the one it replaced.  All in all, though, it's not a bad feeder.  

Or so I thought.

Two mornings after putting it out, I came downstairs, looked out the window, and saw that the feeder's top had been pushed back (that's how you fill it:  by flipping the top over), the plexiglass had been bent out of the way, and all the seed had been eaten out of the thing.  Clearly, a squirrel had found its way into the feeder, something that never happened with the old one.  I refilled it, repositioned the squirrel baffle on the feeder pole, and waited.  It happened two more times.  

Yes, I know:  Squirrels need to eat, too.  But this was about more than seed.  This squirrel was stealing from me, violating the sanctity of my birdfeeders.  I'd never seen the critter who was stealing my seed.  But I knew he was out there.  To quote Khan, "He tasks me, and I shall have him!"

So this weekend, I rigged something up using strips of hardware cloth (galvanized steel wire mesh), a staple gun, and a couple of screws.  As a result, my nemisis can't flip up the top without learning to unlatch the hardware cloth from the screw, and he can't grab hold of the edge of the plexiglass to bend it away, again because of the wire mesh.  He hasn't gotten to my seed since.  I am now prepared to declare myself the victor in this struggle for bird feeder supremacy.  I'm feeling quite proud of myself.

That is, until I consider that all I've managed to do is out think a rodent with a brain the size of a peanut.  I remember when my kids were infants, crawling around, getting into stuff.  And I'd rig something up to thwart them, and be so proud.  And then Nancy would remind me that I'd done nothing more than outwit my nine month-old.  

Never mind that, though.  Life's victories are precious and few.  I like to take them where and when I can.

Today's "music":  Morning Edition on NPR


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
Oh c'mon, man. You think you've won? That squirrel's just biding his time, marshaling his resources, laying his plans. This ain't over.
Jan. 16th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
You may be right. There was a red "x" on my door today, and a trail of acorn shells leading from the door back into the woods.....
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Australia, Ghost Gum
David B. Coe

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