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Backyard birders know very intimately how real the struggle with squirrels can be, as these relentless rascals invade feeders, devour seed and take over nest boxes. While there are different ways to make feeders squirrel-resistant, there really isn’t a foolproof way to definitively keep squirrels completely at bay, and birders are constantly trying new techniques to discourage furry visitors. This week’s Wednesday Smile is one of the more creative methods I’ve seen, and while it doesn’t seem effective against chipmunks and smaller visitors, the larger squirrels will start to think twice!
I’ve had my own issues with squirrels (there are a half dozen or more who feel right at home in my yard). Most recently, one has taken a great liking to mealworms, so much so that there are never any left for the gray catbirds who are still a bit shy. Personally, I’ve found broad, round baffles the most effective against squirrels. The baffles I use must be slipped over the top of the feeder pole and rest on a collar that screws around the pole, allowing them to wiggle and swing a bit in case the squirrels get too close. I’ve never yet had even the most industrious, cleverest squirrel in my yard get around this arrangement.
That’s not to say I don’t welcome squirrels – in fact, the very first feeder I put out was a jar for the squirrels to get peanuts, and that feeder is still prominent in my yard. I just don’t want them taking every bit of food so there is none left for the birds. It seems like I may need to buy some balloons, and wait for the entertainment to begin!