Laura Haley-McNeil

6/4/17, The Birdfeeder

Hello, Everyone!

We’re dipping into summer, not officially, I know, as the first day of summer isn’t until June 20th, but I’m looking forward to some lazy weekends starting this weekend when I can sit on the patio and enjoy the flower gardens. My husband and I finally planted our garden. Now on to my next project – weeding! We’ve had so much moisture this spring that the weeds are looking very healthy. I’m anxious to be rid of them, but once again, I haven’t had time to go through the garden and pullout the weeds. I have to do this soon. I don’t want them to smother the new flowers I just planted.

Summer is also when we eat every meal outside. A few years ago, we set up a birdfeeder. I love watching the birds while we sit on the patio. When they first discover the birdfeeder, they’re hesitant especially if we’re outside, but eventually they seem to trust us. They love eating the seed in the birdfeeder, so they seem willing to take the risk for a few bites. Some birds like to take the seed and fly to a tree and eat it before returning to the feeder. Other birds, mainly the blue jays, are very generous and want their family and friends to join them. They call out to one another when they discover the feeder and soon their tribe has descended into our backyard for a meal before they fly away to the next adventure. Then there are the doves. Whoever said, “Gentle as a dove,” it may be a translation of Matthew 10:16, never met the doves in our backyard. These doves fight constantly over the birdfeeder. They push each other out of the feeder. Some of them will perch on the staff that supports the feeder and wait until the more aggressive doves leave then they drop into the feeder, grab a few bites and fly away. We can always tell when the feeder is empty, because our yard becomes very quiet.

And then there are the squirrels. When we first wanted a feeder in our yard, we placed a cylindrical shaped one in one of our planters. It had a small spout so the birds could sit on the perch and nibble the seed. Accept the birds never had a chance. The squirrels discovered it first and had easy access to the feeder, but they weren’t interested in sharing. They would climb the staff and dig their paws into the feeder and scoop out seed. Two squirrels had a horrendous fight over the feeder. They chased each other around the patio and up and down a tree, screeching at each other. I was so afraid they would kill each other, that I ran out of the house and chased them away. That didn’t do any good. They returned more aggressive than ever. They fought and scratched and then the birdfeeder fell apart. After they recovered from their initial shock of having destroyed the feeder, they pounced on the spilled seed and stuffed as much as they could into their mouths and still they fought. They weren’t about to share this treasure trove with anyone.

That’s when my husband and I decided we needed something a little sturdier and something only the birds could use. We went to a store that specialized in bird feeders and bought a flatbed feeder. We set it up in the yard, not in the planter, thinking that the squirrels would ignore it. We were wrong. They shinnied up the post and plopped into the center of the feeder and devoured the bird seed. The birds sat in the trees and chirped and cooed and watched the squirrels devour they meal. We then bought a shield and placed it on the staff supporting the flatbed feeder. The squirrels shinnied up the post and were blocked by the shield but soon learned they could push it to the top and then climb into the feeder. We anchored the shield. The squirrels tried to push the shield out of the way but it wouldn’t move. They soon discovered that there was a nearby tree they could climb and leap from a branch into the feeder. We trimmed the tree.

For now, we have kept the squirrels out of the feeder, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy devising another way to sit in the lap of birdseed luxury. As they plot, they sit beneath the bird feeder and munch on the seed the birds kick out of the feeder.

If you want to see how clever squirrels are, click the link below and have yourself a good laugh.

I hope you have a fabulous first week of summer!