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Squirrel Power

July 30, 2007

I have a problem at my feeders, several furry problems actually. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I attract a good variety of birds to my feeding station. My current yard list is around 50, which is pretty good for a condo in suburban Chapel Hill. I have all the feeders that people who feed birds are inclined to have and all of them have a baffle, except one.

It’s a catch-22 is what it is, I place the suet in a nook of a shrub in my backyard. This allows the bigger birds to use it as well as the little ones. The Bluebirds bring their babies every year, along with Catbirds and Thrashers and even Robins and Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers in the winter. I get some really interesting birds and if I hung the suet feeder they wouldn’t be able to use it as easily. But I also get squirrels, lots of them. And they’re brazen and clever in the ways that only squirrels can be. They haven’t yet figured out the baffles on the seed feeders, but that doesn’t keep them from trying and you can practically see the wheels turning while they sit there staring at the feeder birds. I have a healthy respect for them, you have to given what they’re capable of, but it’s a respect that belies a passionate and often irrational rage. My backyard is a battlefield, and those little gray devils are my Al-Qaeda, sadly that puts me as George W. Bush, and I’ve been about as successful stopping them.

I originally tried the hot pepper suet you can find in bird stores. This worked for about a month. I must have Mexican squirrels, or Indian, or Thai or any other cuisine that keeps it spicy because now the squirrels actually seem to prefer the hot stuff. So with no commercially available suet hot enough to prevent me from getting eaten out of house and home and the squirrels appearing heretofore untrapable, I’ve been forced to take matters into my own hands. My own homemade suet has alternately had fresh green chiles, cayenne pepper and varying amounts of whatever hot stuff I can find my cubboard. As of yet, the squirrels have been up to it, but I’m now going nuclear. I recently went to a specialty food store specifically to get some really hot hot sauce. I just put my first super hot suet cake out this evening, we’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t I’ll just have to keep lobbying my wife to let me get a big flippin’ slingshot.

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