Sunday, December 14, 2008

We must be nuts...

We feed the birds in the winter and by extension, the squirrels. There really isn't any way to feed birds without feeding every other wee beastie that loves seed in the neighborhood.

I have 6 feeders out at the moment. One is a "squirrel-proof" feeder that has a spring-loaded bar which closes over to dispensing holes when something heavier than a bird lands on it. The squirrels have figured out how to disable the bar by moving the spring. There is also a clear plastic feeder that we usually attach to the kitchen window. This year I (hopefully) got smarter and moved it to a window that the squirrels couldn't reach - until DW showed me a picture of the squirrel walking along the lower part of the window jamb.

We also have 4 other pretty run-of-the-mill feeders. 2 are in the front of the house in a tree and 2 are hung on hooks attached to the deck railing. To be honest, I've been getting my money's worth in bird seed watching the antics of the squirrels try to get food out of the feeders. They are quite the acrobats and can manage to hang onto the feeders with their rear feet while eating upside-down. What is amazing is to watch them go from hanging upside-down to pulling themselves up by their stomach muscles to get another mouthful of seed.

What is really amazing is how bold the squirrels are. Last Christmas, we had one that DS and DD named "Piggy" sit in the clear plastic feeder on the window as we ate breakfast about 3 feet away. We even got pictures with the kids putting their hands on the window with Piggy stuffing herself on the other side of the window.

We've seen Piggy around this year - she's recognizable by the white spot on her side. The kids claim that they can identify the different squirrels and have named some of them as well. Piggy we can tell. There's one black squirrel called "Inky". I'll be darned if I can tell the rest of the gray squirrels apart reliably. Some have more white on the back of the ears or brown on their backs and heads, but I haven't got them sorted out.

Inky having a nibble...

This year, the squirrels seem as interested in us as we are in them. They'll sit and watch us from the deck rail. To be honest, it's a bit uncanny sometimes. I feel like an exhibit at the zoo.

Hey You!

Yeah, I'm talkin' to you!


They seem to know that as long as we're in the house, we will not bother them. As soon as we open the door, they head for the hills. The kids think they would like to pet a squirrel, but we certainly don't want any pet squirrels!

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