Today, believe it or not, is National Squirrel Appreciation Day! I'm contemplating this as I look out at the feeders & see 9 squirrels on the ground eating birdseed. At least they're on the ground & there's not 15 of them! Why is it that we despise squirrel so? Is it just because they hog the feeders & eat all the birdseed? Or is it because they have just destroyed that brand new bird feeder that we got for Christmas? Why do they do that?
Squirrels must gnaw to wear down their teeth. If they did not, their teeth can grow 6 inches in one year. Just like the birds, they spend most of the daylight hours in the winter foraging for food. They are opportunistic, see food... eat food. It's as simple as that! They have nothing better to do all day then to figure out how to get into your bird feeders. AND they're very good at it!
What we have to decide to do is: 1) Do we beat them? 2) Do we join them? or 3) Do we do both? As you can see from my picture I have a squirrel baffle on my pole that keeps the squirrels from climbing the pole. If you look closely, you can see I actually have TWO baffles! The raccoon baffle was keeping the squirrels off the feeder until one athletic squirrel managed to get past it. That's when I decided I had to add the extra cone shaped baffle to prevent him from scurrying past the raccoon baffle. It seemed to do the trick UNTIL THIS WINTER. I had a 23" Droll Yankees Clever Clean feeder that I knew was going to be trouble someday. One squirrel figured that he could ricochet off the baffle, grab onto the longer feeder and VOILA! He had access to the bird feeders. My options were to raise the height of the pole or buy a new feeder. It was a good excuse to buy a new 15" feeder. So far the problem has been solved.
There are squirrel proof feeders (THE best are the Squirrel Busters) and baffles. There are even squirrel feeders & squirrel food. You just have to decide what you want to do. For the most part they are staying off my feeders so I don't begrudge them a handful or so of bird seed on the ground. I have even been known to actually BUY squirrel food when I know the weather is going to be extremely tough & give them extra handfuls. But… When I see 15 squirrels in the yard and more are coming across the street, I draw the line & don't throw out any extra for a while. After all, I'm into bird feeding not squirrel feeding… Even if they are cute!
I have been watching birds since a small child when I shared the joy of birdfeeding with my grandparents. In 1988 my passion evolved into Backyard Birds Nature Shop.