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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.