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6th Apr, 2004

There is now a seed-feeder hanging in sight of our kitchen window. It is designed to make life difficult for squirrels, but difficult is not impossible. Our resident (gray) squirrel hangs by his hind feet from the bar above, and snatches and eats seeds from the edge of the feeder.
So, since the seeds are actually intended for birds, once in a while we chase him (or her) away.
Yesterday when Meriol chased him he chose to run next door, up to the roof ridge, thirty feet or more off the ground, where he sat for a few moments displaying a classic Tufty profile against the sky. This I have seen before. But then something happened I have not seen before. A bird - I think a young starling - flew from the chimney pot straight at the squirrel, and drove him from his ridge tile. And then again from his resting place on the gutter, and again from the flat roof of the extension, until the squirrel was driven from the house altogether.
The starling is better at chasing him off than we are: he was back on the bird feeder within half an hour, but I haven't seen him climb next door's roof since.

Comments

purpletigron
6th Apr, 2004 00:19 (UTC)
Selective feeding
Ah! We're in the middle of trying to select bird-feeders for our squirrel-infested garden. So you find that a 'sacrificial feeder' of peanuts discourages the squirrels from trying to break into the caged feeding system? Doesn't this encourage a larger squirrel population?
Can you recommend any particular 'squirrel-friendly' nut holders, and 'squirrel-hostile' seed holders? And is there anywhere which sells affordable organic nuts and seeds?

I've been seriously considering the alternative - which also avoids the problem whereby I forget to re-fill the feeder - of planting 'bird food perennials' around the garden. Do birds like buddleia seed, for example? I can't see a squirrel gorging itself on a buddleia bush...
the_gardener
6th Apr, 2004 00:52 (UTC)
Re: Selective feeding
I can't see a squirrel gorging itself on a buddleia bush

I can -- squirrels are omnivorous, and will eat all the buds and flowers out of your garden if there's nothing else to hand. It's happened to us!

As to whether putting up a dedicated squirrel feeder encourages a larger squirrel population....well, yes, it does, and you'll witness some right royal territorial battles as they try to chase each other off from what each considers as "their" feeding station. (Particularly in the autumn, when the mothers turn their offspring out of the drays to fend for themselves.) Whatever type of caged or uncaged feeders you settle for, however (CJ WildBird Foods is my supplier of choice, for feeders as well as feed, although I don't think their feed is classed as organic under Soil Association standards), make sure they're of metal construction. Plastic ones will be gnawed to shreds in no time.
purpletigron
6th Apr, 2004 01:54 (UTC)
Re: Selective feeding
(coth, do tell us if you'd rather we weren't having this party at your place :-)

will eat all the buds and flowers out of your garden

Oh, phoeey. The squirrels at our old place didn't come into our garden out of the park... Any guidance on what birds prefer and squirrels dis-prefer? If not, two metal feeders, one squirrel-soft, the other squirrel-tough, and bags of feed it is...

CJ WildBird Foods is my supplier of choice

So, what led you to choose them?
the_gardener
6th Apr, 2004 02:17 (UTC)
Re: Selective feeding
Probably nothing more than that their catalogue happened to be to hand when we first thought of purchasing bird feed. They don't do everything -- I buy fat products from Jacobi Jayne -- but they gave me a customer number and I've stuck with them ever since.

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coth
Caroline M

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