LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sometimes We Do Share

We live in the woods. Squirrels live in the woods. We feed the birds. Squirrels like the same food. So it's a constant struggle trying to outwit the squirrels, who by the way, have plenty of nuts and berries around.

We have a variety of birdfeeders offering different kinds of seeds and suet. The squirrels have shown little interest in trying to get at the feeder with cracked sunflower seeds so we have not used a baffle to protect it. At any given time, there are several different types of birds at the stations. We almost always see nuthatches, chickadees, titmice and goldfinches when we look out at this feeder. They seem to have no problem sharing.


In fact, we have had some rather unusual visitors to this particular feeder. Here a female Pileated Woodpecker and a female Eastern Towhee are feeding. A bit strange for the woodpecker to go for the seeds at a feeder clearly not well-designed for woodpeckers. And the towhee is usually a ground feeder. But they shared nonetheless.



I mentioned that squirrels have not been particularly interested in this feeder. Well, that was true until this week. And, wouldn't you know? One of the beady-eyed monsters was determined to try some of this seed.


Well, we can put a stop to that. One of my husband's PVC pipe and duct tape baffles now surrounds the pole. When the squirrel tries to climb, the pipe swivels. Not especially pretty, but quite effective. (This is the second generation homemade baffle, by the way. There's always a method for a man to improve any invention using PVC pipe and duct tape.) Since the birdfeeders hang from the upper deck at the back of the house looks aren't terribly important.




In all our years of feeding birds, this is the only truly squirrel-proof feeder we have found. It has a spring tension that shuts off the food at a given weight. We have had others with springs that shut down with the weight of large birds (doves) and squirrels. But in each of those, the squirrel would eventually learn to hang from his hind leg and scoop the seeds without tripping the spring. The current feeder is longer than the squirrel so he can't do that little trick. Well, unless we have a basketball playing squirrel who towers above all the others. So far we have had only normal-sized rascals. This particular feeder is made by Wild Birds Unlimited and is called the WBU Eliminator. (Oh, if it REALLY eliminated the squirrels I would pay a fortune for it.) But it does eliminate the squirrel feeding.




It is almost blasphemous to hate squirrels in Transylvania County. We have white squirrels here and Brevard promotes them as big tourist draws. (Guess the scenery, waterfalls, and national forests aren't enough.) You name any type of tacky souvenir you can imagine. Yep, we've got that with a white squirrel on it.

We occasionally see them in our forest and I don't like them any better than the gray ones. I just call them the beady-eyed white devils.

14 comments:

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I loved this post and found it very informative! White squirrels I've never seen and I think they are cuter than grackles.
I don't mind the doves so much but sparrows, swallows, doves, red-wing black birds and of course the ones I detest-the Grackles. They killed so many of my smaller birds this year. I had to stop buying no-mess food due to cost but sometimes get tired of the weeds.
Thanks for sharing...have a wonderful day.
Noreen

kks said...

those little stinkers!! i once rescued a squirrel hanging by his back leg, wrapped with string from a feeder we had haphazardly put up...
i also saw a hawk snatch a squirrel from a tree and fly off...
one last squirrel tail...Maui, one of my first goldens, was able to catch squirrels on her tie out (before we had a fence)...she was quite the hunter!!
it is hotter than HOT here!! and terribly humid...relief on sunday they say....
xoxo

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh those darn spams.... I delete those things constantly... I've even turned them into Blogger to no avail..... Darn!!!!

Glad the Pileated visited you.. We have one that visits us quite a bit. We haven't had as much trouble with squirrels lately as we did in spring... But---I'm glad to know about your squirrel-proof feeder. Thanks!!!

I've never seen a Towhee here... I used to hear them in the trees when we visited our friends in NC... I'm not sure we have many of them here....???? Wish we did...

Hope you are having a great week.

Hugs,
Betsy

robin andrea said...

It is so surprising to see a Pileated on a birdfeeder. What a great photo. We've managed to keep the squirrels off the feeders, but they do grab most of the food I put out on the ground for the doves and quail.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I love the picture of he pileated woodpecker! But are you sure that it's not a crafty squirrel in disguise? :-)

Vicki Lane said...

Great pic of the pileated woodpecker and of the white squirrel. I love watching the squirrels as much as the birds -- they all visit the feeders

Jayne said...

LOVE the photo of the Pileated and the Towhee... talk about odd dinner guests!! My raccoon baffle on my feeder pole system from WBU has pretty much baffled any of those furry creatures that try to get up the pole. But, in my smaller feeder area outside the kitchen window, they'll literally lay down in the platform feeder and feast...lol!

Courtney at Scattering Lupines said...

What a clever idea! I will have to share this with Husband....

GREAT photos! I can't believe you caught a photo of that dern squirrel :)

scienceguy288 said...

Although the squirrels can sometimes bother me, I find their antics and acrobatics to be fun to watch in their own right.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

What a fantastic shot of the Pileated Woodpecker at your feeder! -- barbara

George said...

We don't have any white squirrels here and don't particularly want any. We have had Pileated Woodpeckers at some of the feeders where we never expected them.

Victoria said...

Great picture of the birds, and I especially loved the two of the squirrels. I feed the birds and the squirrels (and just about every other critter that shows up). Just can't bring myself to discriminate.

Karin said...

I found your post very educational - there's a lot I don't know, lol! Great photos and I enjoyed them.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I like watching the squirrels.
But.....they haven't found my feeders yet either.