I hate squirrels.Well, maybe not all squirrels. Just the ones that climb into my birdhouse and eat all the bird seed. It’s bird seed for God’s sake. It says so right there on the bag!
The couple that sold us our house gushed about the birdhouse and lamented the fact that it was on a pole that had been cemented into the ground so they couldn’t take it with them. They told us where to get the best wild bird seed so that we would attract all kinds of interesting specimens. We have the perfect vantage point from our breakfast table (our only table actually, since we put a pool table in the dining room). The birdhouse is right outside the window. It has four glass panels (well, three now). You fill it by lowering it down the pole with a crank, then you lift up the roof just enough to scoop some food into the four compartments, ease the roof back down and raise it back up.Voilà,the bird café is open for business!
In the beginning, G and I would sit at the table in the morning, oohing and aahing at the cardinals and blue jays and the numerous little brown birds (which all look pretty much the same to me). They’re a lot of fun to watch, especially when they start bullying each other. Those suckers can get pretty territorial. But they’re no match for squirrels.
When the squirrels first started coming, they perched on the sides of the bird house to eat. Before long, they figured out how to shimmy the roof up and climb inside. They would sit in there, munching away, until all the food was gone.
When I saw what was happening, I tapped on the kitchen window to scare them off. That worked for a few days. But it wasn’t too long before they stopped running. So I started pounding harder on the window, like I really meant it. That made ’em jump, and it kept them away longer. But within a few days, the pounding didn’t phase them either. So I opened the window and yelled at them.
Then “GO AWAY!”
Then “AAAAAAHHHHH!” while at the same time waving my arms wildly.
They must have thought I was a raving lunatic. They cleared out for a couple of days, I put more seed in, and we enjoyed the birds again. But sure enough, the squirrels came back, tiptoeing on their little squirrel feet up to the birdhouse and helping themselves. Now the little bastards were really starting to piss me off.
Picture this: me padding into the kitchen first thing in the morning to put the kettle on, looking out the window, and there they are, already inside the bloody thing feasting away. As soon as they see me they sit up at attention and chew more slowly, waiting for my next move. At first I run out through the garage and yell at them, but that takes too long because I have to raise up the garage door. So I start running across the kitchen to the sliding door and outside where I yell at them from the corner of the house. Sometimes I pick up a few pine cones to throw at them, just for emphasis. (All the while I’m praying my neighbors don’t see me.) The squirrels leap into the trees or hide in the bushes under the bird house. But sooner or later they emerge, creeping back furtively.
So I do some research. I find out that basically you have three options when it comes to squirrels:
- You can buy special bird seed that is not appealing to squirrels. Personally, I like the convenience of buying big bags of wild birdseed at Sam’s Club, and I’m not going to make a special trip halfway across town to buy “special” bird food. Plus, I figure if the squirrels won’t like it, most birds won’t either.
- You can cover your bird house with chicken wire or an upside down plastic bowl so the squirrels can’t get into it or so they have nothing to hang on to. That just spoils the whole picture, IMHO. And I don’t want my yard looking like the Clampett’s.
- Cayenne pepper. You can sprinkle cayenne pepper on the bird seed and it won’t bother the birds, but it will burn little squirrel lips. Bingo!
I try it. I fill up the bird house and pour in a whole jar of cayenne pepper. Then I wait. The squirrels come and nervously begin to eat, keeping one eye on me. They don’t stay long. Aha! I’m feeling pretty good about myself! But then, one by one, they come back. They try some more seed. I’ll be damned if the little bastards don’t like spicy food!!
That was the last straw. I run outside. The squirrels are in the bird house, and they aren’t budging. I grab the hose and start spraying them. They make a run for it. All but one, who stands his ground and glares at me from behind the glass wall. Like a madwoman I swing the hose at the glass, over and over until…. it shatters. The squirrel goes flying in the air and latches onto a tree branch as I stand there, soaking wet, shards of glass littering the earth at my feet. The squirrel shakes his tail and scampers up the branch.
That was a year ago, in Spring. I haven’t been able to find a place where I can get a new glass wall. And I haven’t put any more birdseed in the birdhouse.
I really hate squirrels.