We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, November 18. 2008
North America's Eastern Grey Squirrel is one adaptable critter. Here, in their native territory, I am happy to have them around - and so are the Red-tail hawks that eat them and keep their numbers down.
I think it's been a long time since American kids went out with their .22s to get a mess o' savory squirrel in the oak trees for the family stew-pot.
Like everybody else around here, my main problem with these crafty acrobats is that they eat me out of house and home on my bird-feeders. (Plus, these sneaky little terrorists almost blew me up when they chewed through the hose of my grill's propane tank.)
The ongoing war of brains continues at Maggie's Farm and, thus far, the Grey Squirrel still wins.
Here's some advice on Squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Wki has a good summary on the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Here, we have the black version too, but not many.
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I've got a thistle feeder hung from a clothesline which the goldfinch love and the squirrels leave alone, likewise my other feeder full of safflower, which attracts chickadees, titmice, and a variety of sparrows. I gave up on suet cakes because the squirrels monopolized them and instead use real suet. Its cheap enough at the market. I throw out cracked corn for the little buggers though because they have to eat too. They share with juncos, mourning doves and cardinals.
Advice for squirrel issues...you'll have to kill some of them...here's the best way.
Get the most effective anti-squirrel bird feeder you can. Set up fifty or so feet away, with a pump pellet gun, a good book and coffee...wait till the squirrels hit the feeder. Some will fail. Some will not. Kill the one that masters it, leave the others alone. Repeat as needed. Soon, you'll have a residual population of stupid squirrels who'll breed more stupid squirrels.
Problem solved. Worked for me.
The grey is one of Americas gifts to England I am not fond of...the poor old reds here have been run out of town.
Here, we need bear-proof bird feeders. Speaking of, it should be safe in a few weeks to put the bird feeders back out.
You could always try a good cat. Ours has nailed four grey squirrels and at least three red squirrels this year. All he leaves behind are the claws and tails.
The little beasts are, in many ways, downright admirable. I've had several adventures with them including two home invasions. For the first one I chased the little gray bastid down the basement and then baited a havahart trap with peanut butter. The model trap was too large and the sumunavich just stood there inside the trap enjoying his peanut butter without tripping the trap. But I got him. Brats wouldn't let me kill it - in fact they named it. There's one thing you need to know about putting a live squirrel far enough away so that it doesn't return. You have to set it loose with AT LEAST two four-lane highways between you and it. Preferrably tow four-lanes and an interstate.
Had another one that got into the attic through the double chimney of the gas "fireplace" and refused to take the bait and be trapped. That one was a true test of patience and stamina. I had to climb up on the roof and wait until he exited and then seal up his entrance with construction cloth. I was up there a good while. Neighbors started gathering around, some offering 800 numbers for intervention sites and others taunting me to jump.
I've also witnessed one of the oddest things I ever saw involving squirrels right outside my back door. I have a very nice Colorado blue spuce out there. One year it was inhabited by blue jays. Nasty birds those blue jays. They had a nest and they would roust and dive bomb anything that came near the tree. It was getting so a man couldn't even grill a burger in his backyard. Of course, with a houseful of females I wasn't allowed to take action 'cause, after all, there might be a baby blue jay in the nest needing to grow up to be a nasty adult blue jay. The squirrels solved the problem for me. I happened to step out that door and glance over to see if I'd soon be under attack just at the precise moment two squirrels launched a blitzkrieg against the blue jay nest. They jumped the nest, knocked it out of the tree, and then ran down and pretty much stomped the heck out of it. The jays were berserk but they were also soon gone.
They also pretty much ate the cute birdhouse my sister gave me and I hung in one of my oaks. They just more or less ate the thing. There's bits of it still there but they ate the bits they liked.
Odd critters those gray squirrels.
Oh ... haha. What a great story teller you are! '...the brats named the thing...' "Daddy! You can't kill Muffy!" Too funny!
I had to give up five feeder poles, three with double feeders because of bears. Steel poles bent to the ground and not a seed in sight. I also had a feral cat, black as night, that used my bird sanctuary as a snack snatch. She'd sneak up and wait, and if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed her leaping eight feet into the air from a crouch to snatch a bird mid-flight. Stunning feat even if it was creepy.
For squirrels, get a Slinky and put it on the pole. Glue it at the top under the feeder and let it hang down the pole. Fun, fun, fun to watch.
My experience re: cats and squirrels is that few cats can mess with squirrels. I've had numerous cats get their butts kicked by squirrels and only one that could take 'em out. That one had a knack that the others just never developed. He'd chase them but instead of going for the throat or back of the neck when he caught up (which always resulted in a solid arse whupping for the others) he'd bat them on the back. That apparently stunned them long enough that he could finish them off.
I'm still gagging, boiling, bleaching, and blinking from a few days ago when, noticing the downhole pump circuit light on too long in the pumphouse up the hill a little ways behind the house, i climbed up on the cistern to investigate the cutoff switch (which is rigged to a float on a shaft which is set over a 3" hole in he concrete cistern lid) and found a dead squirrel --had entered thru that 3" hole and drowned semi-caught atop and holding down the float, which thus couldn't float up and trip the circuit breaker. The cistern had been overflowing of course, but the low volume rig on an inch out-of-plumb tank had been overflowing on the far side away from my usual eyeballing from the house area thirty yards distant and tree-screened.
The mass of the +/- week-dead corpse was fully corrupted, maggoted, fly-covered, bloated, split, and floating in the water we'd been drinking cooking and washing with.
Formerly drinking, etc, with, that is --after gagging through a preliminary cleanup i went into town and procured a quantity of 2.5 gallon jugs of what we're calling "non-squirrel water".
We're in a drought and the well is none too hearty as is, but I'm staging in a fresh thousand or so gallons heavily bleached through the cistern before I can even begin to think of running the taps in the house or even watering the dogs. Cows i don't mind so much --they wouldn't care anyway, and in any case them plastic jugs re cows fail the 'reasonable' test.
How many times a day do you think you can spit? Wrong --it's a LOT more than that.
ew ew ew ew. Did you all drink some Clorox? I would have.
hey! Did you name the squirrel? Stuffy. That would have been good.
From your description I take it the pole should be in the center of the slinky. This sounds like an EXCELLENT idea. Are the dopey modern plastic slinkies OK for this?
Yummm!!! La soupe froide d'écureuil
Knuck, reminds me of old 60s joke-
"Do you like Lumumba? Well, have some more!"
Yes. The cheap plastic ones will work, too. My mom had a martin house and had to deal with snakes and squirrels and lots of wind as it was near the salt marsh. My father cut a hole in a plastic trash can lid and secured it mid-pole to keep the snakes away. Nothing worse than seeing a big snake head poking out of one of the twelve small holes that house the nesting spaces - and stuck there because the snake ate too many babies and couldn't get out! They had wire strung from two trees to keep the very tall pole from swaying in the wind, and that's how the squirrels would get to the .... oh wait. I messed up. Squirrels don't eat meat. They also had a feeder platform set up for the martins and this was tied to trees to keep it from swaying. That's when my mother put the slinky up. Yes - pole in the center. That was a riot to watch, but within days, she watched as the squirrels did a high-wire act on the wires to get to the food. She cut holes in the bottom of a bunch of plastic Coke bottles and strung them on the wires. The squirrels would get about a foot onto them and roll over and off with a thump. We'd stand on the porch and laugh ourselves to death because they kept trying! Damn, it was tacky looking but it worked and provided us with a lot of laughs. The slinky is killer, though. The harder they scramble and climb, the harder they scramble and climb. Like a stair-step machine. :)
I have a squirrel proof feeder hanging on the front porch. It features a sloping lid that overhangs the front of the feeder and the grey guys just slide right off. It also has a purch that is spring loaded so the heavier birds like the jays can't feed at it too much, they have to keep flapping their wings to keep the purch from dropping down over the food tray.
The last tropical storm that came through took down some soffit over my bedroom, so I had an infestation there until I put it back up this past weekend. Also fixed the garage door so I can keep them from entering there as well. Whew! Squirrel proof at last.
I love tree rat stories. The only good tree rat is a DEAD one
BD witch tree rat destroyed your grill . Red or gray?
Go read 'rascalfair's' solution. He has retard squirrels in his yard. They walk around and bump into trees and go 'DUH' and then hop around like the bunnies in the yard.... spoing, spoing, spoing.
I didn't name the home invader anything. My brats named it Niko. Don't bother asking, Idunno.
i had one once that used to open my morning paper as soon as it hit the yard, and read it 'til i'd go out and take it away from him. Everybody thought it was a miracle, a squirrel genius and such --but the truth is, all he ever read was the cartoons and sometimes the sports section.
I could leave you hanging with 'white space', but I won't.
ha ha ha ... :}
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Hmm. Buddy, what do pennies have to do with your nuts? Was Piggy saving them to get youse an all-night girl from the D train?
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Trap and release - we do that with great success. We take them over 5 miles away and release them in heavy woods. We started because the little bastards built a nest - in the engine compartment of our Jeep Grand Cherokee - TWICE! Cost us over $1,000 in damages. That year - we trapped & released over 20 squirrels. Last year we did about 12. This year we are up to 15 and counting.
It's starting to turn quite cold here though, so we likely won't do anymore this year. Seems cruel to relocate them in the cold.
Oh yeah, and they do eat meat. I saw one taking baby Carolina Wrens out of their nest, climb a tree and eat them. Decimated the nest; it's an image that doesn't come out.