Dear Readers, as you know I am usually enchanted by the squirrels that visit the garden, but this year they are slightly ‘taking the Mickey’ as my Dad would have said. There are at least two adults and two youngsters who visit the garden as soon as the seed feeders are put out and sit there until they have eaten so many sunflower hearts that they can no longer move. Then, they sometimes move over to the suet feeders. I had no idea that squirrels had a taste for animal products, but I should have guessed following a squirrel’s interest in the prey of a sparrowhawk a few years ago. At one point, all four feeders had a squirrel attached.
So I have come to the conclusion that while I am happy for the squirrels to have some of the food that I put out for the birds (after all, when you make a wildlife garden you can’t necessarily be that fussed about who turns up), I don’t want them gobbling it all up. This morning there were three varieties of tit (coal, blue and great), some sparrows, a dunnock and some chaffinches who were all unable to feed because of the squirrels, and that’s without the collared doves who looked as if they were gathering en masse to at least attempt a take over.
So I have turned my mind to ‘squirrel-proof feeders’. If I had one or two of these at least the birds would get a look in. But which type to buy? There are so many different kinds, and I know that not all of them actually foil the furry foe (a quick burst of alliteration there). Have you had a similar problem? What has worked for you? Before anyone points out that attaching a seed tray to one of the feeders probably helps the squirrels, I need to tell you that I put this there for the woodpigeons/collared doves so that they could feed.
So, looking at Vine House Farm (my favourite bird food provider), it appears that the choice is: cage…
or the ‘Squirrel Buster’ (the weight of a squirrel or large bird closes up the ports of the feeder, though clearly I’d have to be careful about where it was located). I haven’t found any photos of squirrels ‘busting’ the squirrel buster feeders, so maybe this design really does foil them. Shame it’s the most expensive, but there we go.
Over to you, Readers! Squirrels and bird food – your thoughts. I will report back soon.