Picking your battles

It’s probably no surprise that I love watching and feeding the birds at my variety of feeding stations, bird baths, and roosting spots.  Even if I don’t have any ‘new’ visitors for a while (sniff, bye bye summer migrants, sniff), the antics of my resident chickadees and goldfinches are still something I enjoy watching from my windows.  With my variety of voracious visitors, it’s pretty standard for me to have to fill several of my feeders on a daily basis.  My husband thought that we just had that many feathered visitors, so I had to set him straight.  The birds eat a lot, true, but the real culprits eating us out of the (bird)house and home are the squirrels!

Anyone who’s walked through the aisle of a backyard store or bird feeding specialty area knows about the variety of ‘squirrel proofing’ equipment available of purchase.  There are baffles that go below the feeders to keep squirrels from climbing poles.  Cones that go over the top of feeders to stop squirrels from hanging onto the tops of the feeders while attempting a nibble.  Hopper feeders that snap shut when they feel too much weight on them.  Even feeders that spin and (supposedly) fling the squirrels off before they can grab a snack.  Admittedly, I have not tried all of these contraptions, maybe a few of them do work.  But I am of the opinion that there is not anything that is truly squirrel-proof, at best things may be a squirrel-delay (and this video seems to back up that belief).  I’m not inclined to spend a ton of physical and emotional effort fighting what is probably a losing battle.

And so, I may sometimes lament the speed at which my feeders empty, or scold the odd squirrel who stands his/her ground when I am heading out to do my daily refill run, but ultimately I just add watching the level of grace, precision, and strength that the squirrels display while they hang upside-down off of my peanut feeder to the visual feast of all my feathered friends.

But maybe I should by stock in a sunflower seed company, just to benefit from being the neighborhood squirrel dine-in restaurant…