WISHFULLY THINKING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Wishfully Thinking of Squirrels

The birds are back. Not as many as last year, but they have arrived. Woodpeckers and Titmice and something I haven’t identified yet, but it’s about the size of a Titmouse, but without the feather headdress. I’m pretty sure I saw a goldfinch and I’m sure there will be more.

So now is the time when I try to figure out what to do with the squirrels. My current state of mind is to set up a separate feeding station for them on the other side of the deck. As the add for some of the most amusing pieces of handmade, artistic stations for squirrels is “If you can’t fight’em, feed’em.”

Bird-proof-squirrel-feeder. If-you-can-t-beat-them,-feed-them

The problem is that squirrel feeing stations are expensive. They are handmade, usually of very hard cedar with a gallon glass jug on one end for peanuts of cracked corn and any number of weird places to stick corncobs. One farmer offered to sell me a ton (yes, a ton) of feeding corn for the squirrels. I passed. But we do have feed and grain stores around here because people do have chickens and other small farm critters — and some people enjoy the antics of the squirrels. I enjoy the antics of the squirrels. I just want them to play in their own garden and not try an take over the grain feeders for the birds.

The squirrel airplane!

They want the feeders to be at least 15 feet apart from each other. If our deck wasn’t a squire 12X12 feet, it would be easier. In theory, I could put the feeder for the furry ones off by the trees in the woods … but once it snows, I can’t get through the backyard, so they get would only get fed until the first snow and after that, the yards are socked in for the winter.

Owen and I finally decided to bring up the big glass and metal table and put (for now) the big flat feeder on it and throw ears of corn around the rest of the table. As long as we don’t get an invasion of raccoons and chipmunks, that is. Raccoons can do some serious damage and they have hands, too. Chipmunks are noisy and not shy about letting you know when they feel it’s feeding time again. They feel that it should always be feeding time.

Uncle Dunkels Backyard Squirrel Feeder One Gallon Glass Jar Entertaining Squirrel Feeder

So far, we haven’t seen any raccoons. We used to have a yard full of chipmunks, but the bobcats ate them, so we rarely see them anymore.

Anyone with serious experience in feeding squirrels? I’m assuming unhulled, raw peanuts and corn are the foods of choice? What can one use as a feed bin that they won’t chew to pieces? Something very hard in the way of wood (hard cedar?) or metal? I have an old, useless (as a yard tool) wheelbarrow, but I’m afraid it would get too full of water to be useful and become a squirrel-sized skating rink the rest of the winter.

It’s a BIG one!

Just when I think I’m making my life easier, I find some special new way to make it more difficult. On the other hand, I always did love a yard full of creatures, as long as they keep their legs fewer than six.

Also, the question is, will they finish off their food then try to take over the bird feeders too? I want them to guard their own feeder and not the bird feeder. By spring of last year, they were constantly guarding the feeders. I didn’t know you could have guard squirrels.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

16 thoughts on “WISHFULLY THINKING – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. We have several squirrels that inhabit the area next to us but there are two black squirrels that come to visit. I had no idea there were black squirrels, but they are absolutely beautiful! Hey, we had a black cat, we have a black dog, why not black squirrels, right? I’d love to feed them but I’m concerned the two cats would have a hay day if not drive the pooch insane and have him barking all the time. They seem to live well as there are umpteen trees and lots of available food. They show up ever summer and fall and once in awhile during winter, then off and on in spring. They are a delight though.

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      1. lmao @ squirrels driving you crazier than the dogs. These are content with sitting on the fence staring at us. I wished I could get a picture but they are too quick for me. I never think to take the phone out there so I have a camera at the ready.

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  2. When we were back east and had bird feeders in our backyard, we had squirrel deterrent attachments to our feeders, as the squirrels were pigs, ate a lot of the bird feed/seeds and chased away most of the birds. So we didn’t do anything to encourage squirrels by feeding them. We wanted to feed the birds, and figured the squirrels did fine without our help.

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  3. We don’t have squirrels in our gardens, they are in the woods. What I don’t get is how to tell the squirrels that’s your feeder and that is for the birds.

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    1. Frankly, I’m not sure either. I think it’s a matter of what food is in which feeder. Squirrels like chunkier food than the birds, so if you give them corn and peanuts, they are much happier than with seeds. But I don’t see why they wouldn’t eat all their food, then go eat all the bird food too. They are really GREEDY.

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  4. They probably would start on the birdseed once their food is gone. I imagine their attitude is a lot like the CEO’s of large companies, more is better. I guess you would have to try a deterrent on the seed trays as well as more attractive offerings for the squirrels.

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    1. As far as I can tell, squirrels are exactly like the CEOs of large companies. It’s why I’m trying to figure out how to keep them distracted and out of the feeders. Because they don’t know how to stop. When they start eating, they will keep on until they are so full they fall off the feeder.

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