Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bird Friends and an Army of Enemies

I've been feeding and observing birds for over five years now. At first I thought it was cute that the birds shared their food with the squirrels. Well, I've learned the birds are not really sharing, they're tolerating these ravenous little varmints. It's really getting downright annoying as the furry rats take over the feeders, gobbling up food that is not meant for them.

For a while now I've been sending my golden mix, Chance, to chase them off. While it's a fun few minutes of exhilaration for him, he's getting old and arthritic; plus, it's just not working. So I started doing some research on what might deter these little $#@*&!. One suggestion that appealed to me was to spray Pam on the shepherd's hook pole. Easy peasy. Pam in hand, I marched my hiney outside and sprayed the heck out of the pole.

So far it's working, and doesn't seem to have a negative effect on the birds. I did catch one squirrel at the top of the feeder the next day while three others fed on the ground. I wish I had thought to video the escape--his slide down was like greased lightning. I'm sure all his squirrel friends were all, "What the heck happened to you? You're almost ready for the fryer, dude!" Moving the feeder farther away from the fence in conjunction with the Pam seems to have done the trick.


Who's there?

Trying to get up his nerve to jump. He finally gave up and walked away.
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday and I'd Rather B Birdin'. Thanks Stewart and Anni!!

37 comments:

Buttons said...

Oh this is funny I can picture in my mind them sliding off covered with Pam. I think I would have other much bigger critters coming and licking the Pam off like coyotes or possibly bears. Your photos are amazing:Hugs B

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I would give anything to see video of that haha. They sell bird feed around here that supposedly appetizing to squirrels. I've always wondered if it works.

Pallavi said...

Hahaha. That was so funny and cute Gail :) Glad the birds can now eat in peace.

Linda said...

We enjoy "America's Funniest Videos," and there are often videos of squirrels trying to overcome the barriers to bird feeders. They're so cute and so determined.

Your photos are beautiful, even the one of the little varmint. I like the third one of the woodpecker because his eye is so clear in that one.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I swear...I'm gonna do this 'trick' in hopes it'll work for our feeders as well. I'm now wondering if I can actually spray the trunk of my pecan tree!?~~lol

Love the woodpecker images Gail.

Hootin' Anni [aka Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin']

Hilary said...

Awww. But I love squirrels. And I'm going to miss them. Our new place seems to be devoid of them in any decent numbers. But it's true.. our bird seed lasts a lot longer now. Hopefully your cute little varmint will be content to ground feed. Beautiful images as always.

Nancy said...

I am still laughing....you tell a good story girlfriend....With you after them they are goners for sure....Great shots by the way....

TexWisGirl said...

i don't even try any more. good thing they're cute... :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I used to have a taped copy of a BBC show where people tried all sorts of things to outwit the squirrels and they kept figuring them out eventually. The squirrel would just sit there staring and thinking for a day or two and then figure out how to make the jump or whatever. It was funny, but I used to spend way too much feeding squirrels too! Si I know how you feel. Darling woodpecker !

Sophi Belle said...

AWW, but the squirrels are cute too! :D Great captures!!!!

Karen said...

Absolutely fabulous captures of the woodpecker Gail!

I don't use shepherd's hooks anymore. I use a pole system that I can baffle. The pole can accommodate 4 feeders at different heights, and the baffle is below the feeders so if the squirrel climbs the pole he is inside the baffle and can't reach the feeders. It's an ingenious system.

Pam may seem like a good idea but if but the oil accidentally brushes onto feathers, the birds may have difficulty flying and be "sitting ducks" so to speak for predators.

hootnonny said...

Bird and squirrel watching through your lens is entertaining.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Those squirrels! !

bailey-road.com said...

I really enjoyed the squirrels this summer. They didn't try to raid the feeders so much as long as I was there with their peanuts. Right now, they all seem pretty busy gathering nuts to store for winter.

Chatty Crone said...

The squirrel is so cute - but boy can they be damaging!

Mitzi said...

cute little story. Love the bird shots...and the squirrel, while cute in his own way...they are pesky little things aren't they?

EG CameraGirl said...

Using Pam is an excellent idea, Gail. I wonder how often you will need to respray. Thanks for the tip. Those little piggies sure can chow down, can't they?

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I have an ongoing war with the squirrels and the House Sparrows.I really don't care to feed either of them.

Barbara said...

It was quite a challenge here, too. Tom finally attached a concave metal plate halfway up the pole, just large enough that the squirrels miraculously can't get around it. They managed to jump from the roof over there, but I haven't seen them try lately. Good luck with yours!!

eileeninmd said...

We must all keep the squirrels well fed! I am happy to see the woodie got a change at the feeder!

Jacquelineand.... said...

Oh that is funny and brilliant Gail! I'll have to remember that trick.

Shug said...

I guess those nasty little, long tailed things have been out-smarted!!
You go girl.... and shame on those squirrels...

HansHB said...

Lovely serie from the bird-feeder!

genie said...

What a beautiful woodpecker and your pictures are fantastic. What fabulous detail you captures...and that naughty little squirrel.

Brian King said...

Beautiful photos of the Red-bellied Woodpecker! They're one of my favorites!

I tried the cooking spray trick last winter and it worked at first. The problem was as it dried it actually became sticky. Dirt and small seed particles were sticking to the pole. I ended up having to scrub it off. I also tried WD-40 with limited success. The best thing I did was baffle the poles and keep them out of jumping range...sometimes easier said than done.

Donna said...

He is a cute little squirrel. The squirrels don't bother my suet feeders right now. We shall see.

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Beautiful shots of the woodpecker. Great details and color.

Barb Brookbank said...

Gorgeous shots! and how funny about the Pam - who woulda thought??

Carletta said...

Super shots of the red-belly!
Right now there are so many acorns and hickory nuts keeping my squirrels busy they're staying away from the feeders.
I think your squirrel image is super cute! I love the little guys I have to admit.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Two suggestions-- olive oil is great or equal to pam AND
my Uncle was an electrician and he "trained" his squirrels. On his deck outside the picture window where he would sit in his lounge chair-- He had one feeder for the birds and a feeder for the squirrels. He wired up the metal pole for the birds and everytime a squirrel got on the pole to climb up- Uncle Gene would ZAP the squirrel. they learned quickly which pole they could climb up for food!! In the spring, he'd train the new young squirrels of occationally a squirrel would venture onto Uncle Gene's deck and get zapped :-]]]

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful sharp photos of this lovely bird.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Beautiful photos. The woodpecker is gorgeous. I think the squirrel is cute too.

Cottage c said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

I enjoy the sqirrels and my little mini Aussi enjoys to option to chase them. I have moved most of my feeders away from where they can get at them and then compromised by putting food out that they like ... the downside of this is the cost as my husband grumbles every time he sees a receipt from the feed store. But, I love nature and try very hard to work with it ... That said, your Woodpecker pictures are gorgeous so you are certainly doing the right things. Great post ... and I could sit and tell stories of the opportunities I have missed too. Funny, those are always the stories that stay with you :( Have a wonderful day ...

Andrea @ From The Sol

Jeanne said...

That is a REALLY SMART idea. Going to try it out! Thanks

Dave said...

I too have learnt to live with them, great images in this post....

Stewart M said...

Wonderful woodpecker! I hope to see some again in the UK next year.

Is that a young squirrel? It looks small.

Stewart M - Melbourne