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Right in my Own Backyard by Brandt Carter - Squirrels
posted: Nov. 19, 2020

Right in my Own Backyard header

To many people, they are the enemy! Yes, I need to focus on a backyard resident, the squirrel, which is a #!!* varmint to lots of folks . If you have ever fed the birds, you know that it's hard to protect your feeder against these persistent opportunists. I have resigned myself to the nuisance of squirrels and given up trying varying deterrents.

image courtesy of Brandt Carter

Through the years I have tried to discourage these gluttons from gulping down my birdseed with various strategies. I have used baffles above and below on feeders. I have known people to grease the birdfeeder pole, but an ingenious squirrel usually rubs the grease off on his belly and proceeds to empty the feeder.
The best way to foil these bushy-tailed birdseed marauders is to get a good squirrel-proof feeder. I have used the same one for nearly 25 years. In that time only one port has been damaged. Another squirrel-proof feeder option is designed so that a door closes on the seed when a squirrel sits on the feeding ledge. Most squirrels cannot access these seed trays. Alas, I have heard of clever, persistent squirrels compromising these feeders by teamwork. One squirrel sits on the backside of the feeder counterbalancing the mechanism while the partner eats to its heart's content. Still another option is to feed safflower. This hard, white seed that appeals to songbirds is usually not desirable to squirrels because of its bitter taste.
Each person who feeds birds ultimately has to come to terms with these agile backyard bandits. Many and passionate are the stories of how people defend against squirrels. Ultimately, this battle usually has to come down a truce. Here's to white flags!

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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