December 1st, 2012

krazy koati

Squirrels --- We are not raccoons

Among the wedding presents we received was, from xolo, a bird feeder. It's a lovely bird feeder with a great design --- an hourglass figure, with rims on the bottom, middle, and top, so there's plenty of perching space. And its sides are all wire mesh, so it's not something any seeds can get stuck and grow moldy in. It's really well-designed on every count. After a little while bunny_hugger got a Shepard's crook-style stand and we hung it from that, and were getting a satisfying parade of birds of many sorts in the backyard.

After several months of this happy arrangement, the squirrels moved in. We of course have nothing against squirrels, and have a squirrel feeder in the tree not five feet away from it. But the squirrels, having decided they like the bird feeder, have clung to it figuratively and literally, often hanging upside-down or, more impressively, at 135-degree angles so they can eat. The only thing that'd slowed them down was when we filled the feeder with seeds too big to be easily taken through the mesh, which unfortunately meant the birds couldn't get it either. This is a less-than-optimal arrangement.

We've filled the squirrel feeder with more squirrel-friendly foods, like peanuts, but they've shown only halfhearted interset in that. They'll nibble on some, but mostly they seem to sit in the squirrel feeder so as to stop other squirrels from eating any. You haven't seen smug until you've seen a squirrel just keeping other squirrels from feeding. Mostly they want the bird feeder stuff.

We're considering ways to make the bird feeder less attractive to the squirrel population. Unfortunately the only working squirrel-exclusion method is to set up something which causes the squirrels to point and laugh so hard at the idea this should somehow slow them down that they roll up into giggling balls of fluff and roll downhill into the neighbor's yard, where they don't unroll for days, after which they wander off to tell their friends about it, and before long flood the neighborhood with balls of cackling fuzz. It's a tough standard to set.

Trivia: The ``Black Plan'' for calendar reform builds up leap days until a full week can be added to December. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: The Roads Of Home: Lanes And Legends Of New Jersey, Henry Charlton Beck.