Not much time passed before I learned that I was primarily feeding the neighborhood squirrels. This took some, if not all, of my new found enthusiasm. It became more and more common for me to forget to put out feed and once spring came each year, I quit entirely until winter returned.
Then I learned entirely by accident that there was a product that I could mix with the bird feed that the squirrels would not like and boom, problem solved. For a while that seemed to be the case. But over time the squirrels adjusted to the new mix. The end result was about ten years of limiting the feeding season and pretending the squirrels were not a real problem.
Then a couple years ago a really strong windstorm destroyed my bird feeder. Much to my surprise this time I bought our own, a really nice one for me, and set out to take feeding the birds more seriously. Yes, the squirrels quickly joined in, setting off a number of serious attempts over a two year period to get much more of the feed to the birds.
But it wasn’t until the last six months that I got really serious and, I think finally have gotten some real results. I first shopped around for a new liquid to mix with the feed that the birds would like and the squirrels would hate and didn’t find anything that encouraged me to try. But I did run into a circular clear plastic roof (so to speak) that I could put above the feeder around the chain that holds the feeder. My mechanical skills being limited, it wasn’t until my daughter and son-in-law visited that I had help to really put it together.
It was a joy to watch the squirrels explore possible ways to outfox my ingenious plans and for a couple days I was winning. Then to my amazement for the first time in my life I learned just how creative and talented those little monsters are. They can do amazing things with all parts of their body as it relates to getting where they want to go, and especially with their tails. It was sad to watch them gorge themselves and see the birds waiting for maybe a chance to grab a bite.
For a while I was convinced that nothing would work. But then fate took over. The 4th of July came, and the neighbors with their noisy firecrackers sent my friends away, about eight fat friends, and some have never come back. But a couple did. Then. just by luck, I learned that the squirrels really liked when I filled the feeder full and were not nearly so happy when I barely put much in the feeder. So now I put just a little in each morning, and I’ve seen only one squirrel in the last three weeks. There may or may not be some grand lesson in there somewhere, but given what is going on in our world today, this has been the positive highlight of my summer.