I was thinking about birds, squirrels, and feeders on my walk yesterday. Well, mostly, I was trying to remember the name of a person I knew a long time ago. But once I remember his name, I started thinking about squirrels. The North American Tree Rat, as my grandfather used to call them. Grandpa had a long time war with the squirrels. He built beautiful bird feeding boxes, and the squirrels climbed up and into them. The squirrels or, again, North American Tree Rats then preceded to eat all the birdseed. That, of course, left little to none for the birds. My Grandmother enjoyed watching birds out her big bay window (it was in the living room). Although she didn’t like birds flying into that window.
In part, today’s post is more about there is always a better way than anything else. Over two or three years, Grandpa and I tried three different anti-squirrel systems. The first one was to make easy access feeders so the squirrels could get those, and the theory was they would leave the other harder to get seeds where they lay. Easier to fly into the boxes than it was to climb in was the theory. That was an epic fail. The squirrels just got double seed in that concept. Or, as Grandpa called them, that winter Fat North American Tree Rats. I never saw grandpa stand under a tree and shake his fist at the squirrels. My guess is they would have dropped across on him if he did!
The next idea was wire mesh at the top of the enclosure and bottom. The birds could fly in, and we watched the squirrels swing in! Epic fails number two for our NATR think tank. The last thing we tried was acceptance. We ended up getting new bird feeders that were hard for the squirrels to get to, and the birds came back! Grandma was happy. The Tree Rats still got birdseed and didn’t drop across on Grandpa. I don’t think grandpa ever really accepted that compromise. I am sure I was frustrated. But we were out of options. Our think tank had run dry of ideas. I wonder what Grandpa told the new owners when they sold the Lake House a few years later. Did he mention the NATR issue?