Trying to outwit squirrels on our bird feeders over the past 13 years hasn't worked. In 2000, we mounted our first feeder from a hanger 30 inches off the deck. We didn't think squirrels could get to it. Wrong! They learned to walk across the black iron rod in about two days.
Next, we bought flexible PVC conduit, cut it in two-inch-long sections and covered the rod with it and watched, grinning, from inside the house. The squirrels tried to cross it, the conduit spun, and the squirrels slipped and clawed themselves back to the deck railing. We laughed, congratulated each other. Bad idea! After several squirrel-free days, one brave fellow jumped from the deck to the top of the feeder, then feasted on seed. His buddies soon followed.
Conduit covering rod.
My engineer husband, not to be outsmarted, attached a solid vertical piece of white plastic to the rod in hopes of deterring the squirrels.
Wouldn't you think the height and the plastic
would intimidate a squirrel?
Nope. Here Angus watches a squirrel
mentally processing the problem.
You can almost see squirrel's brain working.
He made it!
How did he do it? He figured out that he could leap to the top of the plastic barricade, then quickly leap to the feeder. Problem solved.
Through the years we tried other feeders; the squirrel always won. Last Friday we bought a feeder that closes when the squirrel puts his feet on the edge of the feeder, and hung it from a post (see foreground). We put no seeds in the stationary feeder in the background.
Squirrel spent an entire day trying to solve this.
I spent a good part of the day watching.
Yep, he did it.
He kept his hind legs on the support rod at the railing,
propped a front foot on the edge of the feeder, used the other
front foot to grab a handful of seed, then ate his fill.
Feast over, he left.
Don't underestimate the mind of a squirrel!
Yesterday we replaced the stationary feeder in the above picture with our new feeder. So far squirrels have sat on the railing and pondered the problem. To date (unless one is feeding on it as I write this) it has been squirrel free.
, a friend and fellow Lake Writer who is now deceased, tried every way he could to keep squirrels off his feeders. He wrote some hilarious essays about his battles with squirrels, finally admitted that squirrels always win. I think Jack's correct; our respite will be short-lived.