Ronnie Morrison

The sweet wife and I have a bird feeder. We also have a bird bath and recently added two hummingbird feeders. 

Now, there is nothing unusual about that, we enjoy watching the birds play in the water, stop by to feed on the seeds and watch the occasional Hummingbird stop by for a drink.

However, the bird feeder is supposed to be squirrel proof.  I would say it is semi-squirrel proof. 

The yard and trees are full of a very large family of squirrels, although we have lost a few in recent months.  The seemingly dumber ones want to climb the utility pole near the front of the house to play on the transformer that sits atop the pole.

Obviously, we hear a zap, or more like an small explosion when that happens.  The house goes dark and our utility company has to send out a technician to reset the transformer and restore the precious lights and air conditioning in our house as well as several homes in the area. The squirrel can’t be restored.

At any rate, the smarter, surviving squirrels stay away from the transformer and seem to be focused on constantly looking for ways to defeat the “squirrel proof” bird feeder. They really seem to love the bird seed when they can get to it.

The sweet wife and I were on the patio the other morning watching what appeared to be a young squirrel leaping from the huge pine tree in our back yard to the top of the feeder.

I was speculating that there must be some structure in the world of squirrels.  The  younger, skinny squirrels seem to be more adverturous, taking the chances, like climbing on a utility pole to see what is up there. 

The seemingly healthy, fatter varmits seem to be more willing to take the safer routes, seeking food and water.  Ok, so I am retired.  I spend some time each day watching the squirrels, birds and even the neighbor’s dog who is allowed to wander into the back yard to take care of business!

I can’t help but wonder if after a few zaps on the transformer that the family of squirrels decided to concentrate on defeating the bird feeder.  They work at it every day.

The device is hanging from a stationary metal post near the big pine tree.  It does contain food that can be consumed on site or stored up for winter!

It is apparently never too early to get started.  I am generally an early riser and there was a run on our feeder the other morning at first light.

I grabbed my cup of coffee and settled in my lawn chair to enjoy the new morning. It was fun to watch squirrel after squirrel leap from the tree onto the metal structure holding the bird feeder.  

The Wal Mart device is structured with two openings, one on each side of the feeder, with a small metal roost at the small openings, just big enough for the birds to feed It is  not large enough for anything else, except maybe for a skinny squirrel, hanging  upside down.

In addition, the feeder is designed in such a way that if anything heavier than a Woodpecker lands on the roost, the sliding door closes cuttng off the food supply, frustrating the entire squirrel family.

 However, they never give up.  I have seen them hang upside down on the top of the feeder, avoiding the roost that closes the window, nibbling the bird seed and trying to push excess seed to the ground for their pals!

They do get discouraged.  Once they land on top of the bird feeder, and hang upside down,  the only way they can  free themselves is to drop to the ground, no easy thing.  The feeder  hangs five or so feet above the base of the pine tree.

It only discourages them for a short while.  In no time at all, I can see one or two gather at the base of the pine, ready for another go at it. 

I think I might smear the top of the feeder with Vaseline to see how that works when they leap from the tall pine.  Should be entertaining but maybe I won’t.  Sweet wife says I am spending way too much time watching squirrels!    

Ronnie Morrison is a former Henderson Daily News sports editor who is now a freelance writer and occasional contributor.

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