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Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Posted by Kathy G on 12/02/03 at 09:42 (139142)

We had a birdfeeder for a few years. About eight years ago, we took it down. Our house is a split and we wanted it to be placed where we could look out the back windows and see the birds. In order to do this, we attached the feeder to the deck via a piece of 2x4. You guessed it; the squirrels had a field day and they got more feed than the birds. I finally got sick of getting up each morning and seeing three mangey squirrels eating my expensive oiled sunflower seed.

My husband decided to rig something up that the squirrels couldn't get to and this year, he filled a plastic garbage pail with sand. He put an adjustable pole into the sand and put a birdfeeder with two baffels, one atop and one below, the actual feeder. Then he adjusted the pole to just the right height to be seen from the higher windows in the back of the house.

Yesterday we had our first cardinal! I was walking through the kitchen and a flash of red caught my eye and there he sat, happily feeding along with some chickadees and a titmouse. Down on the ground, two squirrels were walking around the garbage pail, trying to figure out how to get up!

We still aren't sure if there's a squirrel who's a member of MENSA and the NBA who might be able to jump from the trees or the deck railing to the feeder but he would definitely deserve whatever he could get because we placed it as far away from both as possible.

This morning I was able to watch the birds eating their breakfast while I was eating mine and it was really neat!

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Necee on 12/02/03 at 13:04 (139156)

I enjoy watching the birds too Kathy.

I always keep my feeders full, especially in the wintertime. I've watched the cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, and Morning Doves as they fight over their favorite seeds. At our farm we have noticed Eastern Bluebirds, they are such beautiful birds!

A few years back I found a baby Cardinal on the ground, I couldn't find the nest or mother so I took it on to raise. I hand fed it several times a day, and before long it gained strength and got use to me handling it.
I named her 'Tinker', because of the sweet tinking sound they make. She would flutter her little wings everytime she saw me, and liked to perch on my shoulder. I also saved a Morning Dove one time, it was rescued and hand fed as well. His name was 'Boomer', short for boomerang because it got out one time, and while I was sitting on the back deck the next morning it came back to me! It flew down and landed on my arm.
I'll never pass up a critter that needs help, I guess that's my calling in life.....to help those who can't help themselves.

Happy trails...


Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Dorothy on 12/02/03 at 14:54 (139166)

Sorry Necee - I can't help myself: your spelling is a very common mistake, but the actual name of the bird is 'mourning dove' - and it is probably because of the sad little call they make. I love these birds a lot and want to urge anyone who cares about it to work against hunting regulations that allow for the increasing destruction of this bird. What seems abundant today will not be very soon if so many states allow for the hunting and increased hunting of mourning doves - it is that bird that is being killed when people say they are going dove hunting. In some areas they are abundant; in others, they are already in severe decline.
Now why they don't allow for the hunting of pigeons, I don't know because they are TOO plentiful in every city - and they are also doves! The introduction of peregrine falcons in cities seems to be having an impact on pigeons....or as many people refer to them: flying rats.
Forgive me my pedantry, Necee - it's just a thing with me. I mean no disrespect or 'put-down' at all. You obviously love the birds and creatures. It's just that the 'mourning' part of it is a lovely, poetic aspect of the bird and should not be forgotten - even though their song is commonly heard in the morning, as well as at dusk. I love their song.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Rick R on 12/02/03 at 15:05 (139168)


No kidding, I had no idea it wasn't 'morning.' I do a great mourning dove impression, just the song part that is. This could be a demand if the birds become too scarce, then again it could get me full of bird shot.


Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

R C on 12/02/03 at 15:32 (139170)

I, too, enjoy watching birds. My birdfeeder is mounted on a thick aluminum pole (4 to 5 inches wide), ten feet off the ground. There is a baffle around the middle of the pole, and then a wire Slinky wrapping around the pole below the baffle. These measures together prevent the intrusion of squirrels and raccoons. The feeder is a commercial brand, but I had to have the pole and mounting device custom made by a metal shop.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

marie on 12/02/03 at 16:11 (139176)

I love feeding the birds. I have one squirrel proof feeder and one that isn't. usually the squirrels and chipmunks are to busy at the first feeder to bother the birds at the other. They're a bit fat.

We have several feeders at the cabin too. We get a large variety of birds out there...cardinals, yellow finches, several kinds of woodpeckers, several kinds of hummingbirds, nuthatches, and the chipmunks love to scurry around underneath collecting all that the birds discard. Sometimes we get a deer or two at the feeder. They must like sunflowers too.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Suzanne D on 12/02/03 at 16:36 (139179)

It sounds like you were quite ingenious with your bird feeder, Kathy! I hope you have many enjoyable times looking at the birds from your window.

You know, it's funny: I had a friend (an 'adopted' dad and grandfather for my girls years ago) who lived near us. He absolutely adored squirrels, and one year for Christmas, we gave him a squirrel feeder! He would sit and watch and count how many came and then call to tell me. He fed the birds, too, but really disliked blue jays. He said they were mean and scared away the rest of the birds, so if one came near his feeders, he shot into the air to scare it away.

He also had deer come to his backyard, and he loved them, too. He often called to tell me about the deer and other creatures who came. He was retired, his wife was in the nursing home, and his two children lived away. So, he loved to do things with my daughters and me.

Thinking about Christmas presents, when his daugther would send him a Christmas package each year, he would ask if he could come over to let the girls help guess what might be in them before he opened them. So it got to be a custom that he would come over on Christmas Eve for supper and would open his gifts then.

Well, that was off the subject, but one thing makes me think of something else, and before I know it, I'm writing about it! :)

Suzanne :)

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Dorothy on 12/02/03 at 21:26 (139221)

Funny, ha-ha! I do the song, too. In fact, one night last summer we were outside and heard one of them singing and it was much later than you would normally hear one, or maybe it was just so early in the morning/pre-dawn; anyway, I began to respond to it with my version of its song. It sang again - and well, to make a long story short, we are engaged! I had agreed to this before I knew what I was actually saying to the (previously very sad) bird, but now I feel obligated; I don't want to be the one to break his heart and send him from morning back to mourning again.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Bob G. on 12/02/03 at 22:34 (139234)

I've seen a squirrel jump from a tree to a hung birdfeeder. I mean this birdfeeder was out there, where nobody or no body could get close to it. But this squirrel got there, somehow, someway. Then I asked, 'How's this crazy squirrel going to get down from up there?' I was puzzled. Too far to jump. But that squirrel did jump, and it spread out like a bird and coasted all the way down to the ground!

It really happend up in northern california. I was out on the deck of this beautiful home with its homeowners taking a reverse mortgage application. Home loan made in Heaven.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Necee on 12/03/03 at 00:33 (139237)

You are indeed right on the spelling Dorothy, I should have caught that one! Where I come from, they are spelled both ways.
I've never understood why hunters want to shoot these birds, they aren't that good to eat. Don't get me started on this hunting issue......that topic makes me very angry, especially canned hunts.

I've never been able to understand how these people can call themselves 'hunters'.....they feed the deer all summer long, get them use to coming to the same place for corn, and then sit in a deer stand for hours waiting for that 'trophy' to appear, then they ambush the poor thing!
Go figure!


Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Dorothy on 12/03/03 at 01:46 (139239)

Absolutely right! This 'deer-baiting' - and people are also doing the same thing with black bears - is awful. In big hunting areas, like Michigan, you used to see the 'party store' signs that said 'beer and ammo' (now there's a fine combination!) but now you see giant piles of sugar beets, carrots, apples, corn - all for setting up those deer-baiting sites. And they call it 'hunting' or 'sport'... Not to mention the fact that those are foods that people might be able to use.
We have so much in this country...

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Dorothy on 12/03/03 at 01:50 (139240)

And flyin' squirrels thrown in for free!

They are amazingly clever critters though, no kidding. Ever see that squirrel documentary where all sorts of obstacles and baffles are set up to thwart the squirrels - and yet, they figure out a way!

I respect them, but I'm not fond of them. If pigeons are flying rats(and they are), then squirrels are tree rats. Yes, it's true - everything I'm not fond of is a rat...

PF? It's a rat.

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Kathy G on 12/03/03 at 08:13 (139249)

Yes, Dorothy, I saw that documentary. It was really fascinating. It was no surprise that the idiot squirrels just kept on coming back to get electrical shocks (small, harmless ones, Necee) because they have such tiny brains that they didn't learn that it would continue to happen.

You can tell I'm no fan of squirrels either! They're right up there with bats. And I've never seen a rat, not even on movies or TV, because I turn my head! I guess you could say I'm not a rodent fan. Heck, I didn't even like Mickey Mouse cartoons!

Oh, but I just loved the Cricket in Times Square and its prequels, especially Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse. And one of the main characters is Tucker, a mouse who's just as loveable as can be. These were among my favorite books that I used to read to my children! So, I guess I don't mind mice, as long as they're in books!

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

john h on 12/03/03 at 10:53 (139259)

I have numerous creatures who frequent my back yard on a regular basis. They include squirrels, all kinds of birds, racoons, oppossum , red fox, an occasonal hawk and many quail. I have watched squirrils slide down a 25 foot fine wire from a tree limb head first to reach the feeder. Last night a raccoon was eating out of a food bowl when a very large oppossum came up and ran him off. The fox amazes me in that he can leap an 8' high fence in one bound. Some years ago I had a pilated woodpecker who was as big as a chicken. They usually stay in the deep woods and are the largest of all woodpeckers. I used to have red headed woodpeckers but for the past two years I have only observed a couple. I also have had a chickadee eat out of my hand. I held my hand out with food and he just flew up landed and had some bird seed. Amazing..

Re: mice - only in books! Other "scary" animals...

Suzanne D. on 12/03/03 at 17:19 (139281)

I agree, Kathy! Mice in books can be adorable, but in real life - ugh! Stuart Little even made the big screen! I have a box full of mice books of all types which I read to my children at school. But I can't stand mice in the house.

Somehow, I've never associated squirrels with mice, even though I know the connection. When I was growing up, we had 24 big old oak trees in our yard. The squirrels would run up and down the trees, and my daddy would sit out in a chair in the backyard after work and watch them. He always found them fascinating. I guess because of that and also my elderly friend who I wrote about yesterday who loved them, I have just had a soft spot in my heart for squirrels.

Speaking of animals that people are often afraid of, today we had an assembly in the gym with a program presented by an animal education group. A man brought animals from different biomes to show the children and explain features and characteristics. He had an anaconda snake which frightened many of the teachers! Of course the children thought it was terrific. Actually, I thought it was beautiful. Now, don't misunderstand; I wouldn't want to run into one in the wild, but to see it held by an expert did not frighten me at all. He also brought an arctic fox which was beautiful as well, a cayman (sp?) which looked like a tiny alligator (of course they are cousins), and it looked so sneaky! He had a tarantula as well.

I'm probably strange, but none of those animals frightened me. However, one year he brought birds of prey, and I'll have to admit they made me a little nervous. I just don't want a bird landing on me. That has happened twice to me, and it wasn't fun!

Once we had a bird in the science lab across the hall from me, and for some strange reason it liked my voice. Seeing me, or just hearing my voice, made it start 'talking' and chirping. In faculty meetings (held in the science lab), they had to cover the cage when I walked in. Once the janitors were cleaning the cage after school and my door was open, I said something, and it flew straight to me, landing on my shoulder.

Then last week, I went to a new store to get a necklace engraved, and the man has a bird. The door of the cage was open, and here came the bird - straight to my shoulder. I cringed, and the owner said, 'Are you afraid of birds?'

I replied, 'A little', and he took it to the cage.

He said, 'She doesn't like you' to the bird, and I felt badly. I said that I didn't dislike it, but I didn't like one landing on me.

Sorry...I didn't mean to write a book!
Suzanne :)

Re: Our squirrel proof birdfeeder

Ellen J. on 12/03/03 at 18:02 (139286)

I have about 5 birdfeeders outside and love watching them. In addition to taking in orphaned baby wild birds every year (I recieve about 200 birds a year), I also get baby squirrels that are orphaned. I love to raise them too, but despite that I, too, hate to see the birdfeeders raided by the squrrels because it gets so expensive to feed them too. I have not really solved the problem, and after awhile I just decided to buy a squirrel feeder and let the squirrels eat from that.
I just spent a total of 3 hours trying to rescue a tiny bird trapped in a grocery store. It's tail had been shot off by the night employees using a bb gun and it couldn't fly. However, it was too quick to catch so I went and bought two live-catch traps (Havahart traps) and set them with peanut butter with seeds pressed into the peanut butter on the bait pan. I also put a small dish of water in each trap in case he/she gets thirsty. Now I have to wait and see if the smart little bird will go into one of the traps. I've caught Starlings that way, but each case is a wait-and-see. What's sweet is that some of the employees have been feeding the little bird to keep it alive, and it goes over to the seafood dept. to get it's water. Smart little thing, and I sure hope I can save it.
Ellen J.