September 4, 2020
I watched as our local squirrel climbed the fence and sat above the bird feeder. He has been raiding my feeders all summer. I have given up trying to keep him out and have instead become resigned to letting him have his due. The problem he faced today was of his own making. I had converted an aluminum pie pan into a feeder by attaching wires from an old hanging flower basket. It stood just off the fence and the squirrel had taken to jumping into the plate. Half of the time when he did this it would rip the plate away from the wires and the whole thing would come down. This was fine with the squirrel, as the nuts and seed reserved for the Cardinals fell to the ground and he could eat at his leisure.
Last week, one of our windstorms blew the feeder away. This had happened before, but I always found it lying on the deck. This time it was nowhere to be seen. Not only was the pan gone, the wires were as well. I looked on our porch where we keep extra parts and there were no more suitable wires. Rather than leaving the space empty, I moved the Finch feeder to where the nuts had been. The squirrel was perched on the fence chattering and his tail was whipping back and forth. He was mad! Even though his constant attack on the plate weakened it and led to its disappearance, he obviously believed it was his right to be fed. Now his food was gone.
I did not feel too sorry for the squirrel. He has been raiding my bird feeders all summer, often taking more than the birds themselves. I also knew there was another feeder. I have seen him sitting in this feeder munching away, even when my flimsy feeder was present. Although I did not feel sorry for the squirrel, I did know that every time he raided the bird feeders there was no more food for the birds. I believe I have finally found a way to thwart his raids. I went to the store and bought a squirrel feeder and a special “squirrel mix” of corn and seeds. These are larger pieces and I hope he will love them. When I got up this morning there were three birds fighting over the feeder with the squirrel mix. Turnabout is fair play.
THOUGHTS: If I could anthropomorphize my squirrel, I would say he did not understand why I did not like him. He was acting no different than the birds. Both were just trying to get along in my yard and to understand the odd-looking animal that patrolled it. The only real difference between their foraging habits was they looked different. I finally realized I was the one who needed to change. This same idea seems to guide our nation. Genetically there is less than 1% difference in all human DNA. Sometimes we look different, act different, and sound different, but we are all just trying to get along in this big yard we call America. Change is coming and it starts with you.