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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
...I've resorted to battling witts with a rodent!

We live in a semi-rural area; the wildlife is mostly small rodents ( chipmunks, red & black squirrrels ), turkeys, the occasional fox, and some feral cats. There's lots of trees around, and natural places for them to romp; so as a general rule, they avoid the house. In the yard, about 30' back from the house, there's a bird feeder; that's about as close as they usually come. It's their meeting place underneath, it seems. The feeder is a large cedar 'bird service station' with an A-Frame roof over it; the pole is squirrel-proof; so they just get the spill-over on the ground from sloppy eating birds.

This summer a new critter arrived, a black squirrel. It's different from the resident wildlife because it seems to have a fascination with me and my house. I'll be eating at the kitchen table, look outside, and it's there on the window sill staring in at me. I'll open a door, and it's standing right there looking up at me. It's downright creepy!

Over the past weeks, I've seen it inside the bird feeder. It wasn't obvious to me how it got there; the pole is un-climable, and I thought the nearest tree ( tall cedar ) was way too far to jump from. I set up a motion triggered camera pointed out the window at the feeder. What I captured on video was him jumping from the closest branches of that cedar tree.

I went out and trimmed the furthest extending branches with one of those long pole-trimmers. Next day, he climbed even higher, jumped, and still managed to get on to the feeder. I attached the saw blade to the pole-trimmer and hacked off the limbs that I could reach. Even after mutilating the poor tree, the squirrel climbed even higher and leapt onto the feeder. It was a fantastic leap - worthy of a part in the Flying Wallendas circus act. I'm impressed and amazed at his skill, but I do believe he's purposely taunting me. Now "it's ON".

I made a frame with scrap 1x1 wood, and attached an old sheet of plexiglass to it; it's larger than the surface area of the side of the feeder roof. I mounted this on the side of the feeder where the tree is. Several attempts resulted in him hitting the plexiglass and sliding right off - nothing to grip. Some attempts had him sail right over the top of the thing and land in the snow on the far side. Then he mastered the ability to land right on the top of the frame, and grab on to the wood 1x1. Unbelievable!

I was just about ready to admit that I had been bested by a rat brained bast***d. Then I came up with the idea to mount the plexiglass 'squirrel shield' on a shaft that made it act as a see-saw on the peak of the feeder. It's balanced with a weight so that it stays on the side nearest the tree. If Wallenda Rat hits it below the pivot point, he should slide right off, but if he hits it above the pivot point, it will tip the other way and send him flying off the far side. I just deployed it, and will have to wait and see if he can "one-up" me.

I really don't want to hurt the critter, he's just trying to get food - although there's ample natural squirrel food everywhere. If he finds a way to overcome my latest gadget, I'll admit defeat and let him eat his fill.


TLDR; When you retire, and shut in for winter, you do some crazy sh*t to keep busy.

Edit... did some frame grabs from video. Seeing is believing
 

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Cabin fever can be pretty bad in Canada. I had forgotten what it was like (since I have been away for a while) but these -20 temperatures for days on end is rough on me too.

I like the graphic!

The critters which fascinated me on the west coast were the ravens (or perhaps crows). They would hang out, in big flocks, even on barren trees. There were flocks outside our office and when we were in meetings, we would look out the window and see them -- seemingly -- just staring at us.

It was very unnerving. I think I was once in a phone meeting, turned to look outside, and was stopped cold in my tracks due to the birds perched outside on the barren trees. I forgot my train of thought and had to apologize to the colleague on the phone.

They were a bit of a problem in the city, and the city actually had their own falcolner. I think the birds were hawks; does one still use the term falconer?

The hawk handler would wander through the downtown, and shine a laser pointer at locations with too many ravens. The hawk then flies at them to scare them away. The idea was to disrupt the ravens from flocking in such large numbers, because their poop would paint the sidewalks white and create a major cleanup hassle.

I think they were called the 'Crow Patrol'. The hawks themselves were very sharp looking birds. I saw a few of them up close when talking with the handlers; I wouldn't want to get in a fight with one of those hawks.

I also took strategic paths when walking home, to avoid going under large flocks. Many people were getting pooped on.
 

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...I've resorted to battling witts with a rodent!

We live in a semi-rural area; the wildlife is mostly small rodents ( chipmunks, red & black squirrrels ), turkeys, the occasional fox, and some feral cats. ...
... :highly_amused::highly_amused::highly_amused: LMAO!!!
 

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I really don't want to hurt the critter, he's just trying to get food - although there's ample natural squirrel food everywhere. If he finds a way to overcome my latest gadget, I'll admit defeat and let him eat his fill.
Nooooo don't give up, we still have some winter left! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The critters which fascinated me on the west coast were the ravens (or perhaps crows).
Sometimes we have crows visit the feeder. We know there are a lot of them around; they act as the critter "DEW" line. You'll hear them squalking in the distance; it gets louder and louder. Then we see a fox run out of the woods with the crows making a racket overhead. I don't know why they're bothered by a fox; foxes can't climb trees! The rodents know when they hear the crows, it's time to vamoose. Maybe the crows and squirrels are in cahoots?

For poop, nothing beats the turkeys. With all the forest around, they prefer to use my patio or deck as their toilet. I chase them whenever I see them coming close. Yet... once on a bitter cold -20C day, a turkey walked right up to me when I was outside. I felt so bad for him, I went and got some food for him. What a sorry sap I am.
 

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I thought I finally won. 8 foot 4x4 post, lubricated stove pipe, baffle guard and a nice big hopper feeder perched on top. The squirrels stopped even trying. Until one day a bear came by and snapped the beam like a twig. Deer can be pretty crafty as well. Red squirrels ripped all my basement window screens to shreds.

Make one of these. It's good entertainment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_09N0X8P9WM
 

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That is cool.........we have a lot of mature trees and squirrels around us, including in the patio and just out the front door., so we could sit at the windows and watch the fun.

I bought a new Christmas wreath and put it on the front window. It has fake acorns and pine cones and the squirrels run up the window and pull off all the fake nuts.

I will have to buy a new one every year I am thinking.

PS......who knew you could actually buy such a thing as a squirrel twirler. This one looks like fun.

https://www.wayfair.ca/outdoor/pdp/songbird-essentials-a-whirl-squirrel-feeder-dxv10633.html
 

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We also live in a rural area and get all the critters visiting us. They provide endless entertainment on long winter days. However, we have solved the problem of feeder thieves Userkare.

We don't have any feeders, we just watch them steal the food from our neighbour's feeder and then come and stash it on our property. It's hilarious watching squirrels hide peanuts in the snow. Then a few days later the snow melts and they have to hide them all over again. Under leaves, dig in the lawn, etc. One squirrel spends time hiding one very carefully and then right after it leaves, another squirrel that was watching, comes along and steals the peanut. In the spring when my wife is doing her gardening clean-up, she finds literally hundreds of hidden peanuts. She just leaves them out for the squirrels or Blue Jays to find again.
 

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That is cool.........we have a lot of mature trees and squirrels around us, including in the patio and just out the front door., so we could sit at the windows and watch the fun.

I bought a new Christmas wreath and put it on the front window. It has fake acorns and pine cones and the squirrels run up the window and pull off all the fake nuts.

I will have to buy a new one every year I am thinking.

PS......who knew you could actually buy such a thing as a squirrel twirler. This one looks like fun.

https://www.wayfair.ca/outdoor/pdp/songbird-essentials-a-whirl-squirrel-feeder-dxv10633.html
My wife puts out a wreath on our front door for each of the 4 seasons. A few years ago, a bird built it's nest in the Spring wreath.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Come spring, move the feeder further away from the cedar.
Found the pragmatist. :tongue:

Sure, there's that option, but then it might be within the leaping squirrel range of another tree. The pole is a steel fence post mounted on a long spike driven into the ground. It took like 20 attempts to find a spot that I could hammer the spike without hitting a rock.

I could also cut down the tree. It's leaning pretty hard, and might some day, perhaps during an ice rain, come down right on the feeder.

But then, what fun would that be? I'd miss all the enjoyment of watching Wallenda attempt his trick.
 

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Make one of these. It's good entertainment.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_09N0X8P9WM
Looks like that squirrel is having a lot of fun. Notice how after a few attempts, he figures out how to scurry back down the spoke before it passes the horizontal, and jump back on the platform. So, I guess squirrels aren't so dumb if they're able to figure out some basic physics.
 

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There has been studies and research into why and how squirrels bury nuts all the time.

First, it was scientifically proven that squirrels know the exact location of every nut they buried. They have some kind of internal gps mapping system.

Secondly, it is known that eating a lot of raw nuts causes many digestive problems for humans, but if the nuts are leached first the unhealthy compounds are released.

It is thought that perhaps squirrels bury the nuts to leach the compounds away before eating them in quantity, when they are not as active.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Last summer, cleaning up the woods, I cut down a hollow tree stump. I found that it was filled with small pine cones, chestnuts, and a few half chewed golf balls. I can figure out the possible source of the pine cones, but I have no idea where the chestnuts and golf balls came from.

Hey, maybe that was Flying Wallenda squirrel's stash; that's why he's giving me the 'stink eye' through the window all the time, and trying to steal from the bird feeder.
 

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Looks like that squirrel is having a lot of fun
Basically, I hate squirrels.

My yard extends onto a hydro right of way and then a tree line, so I have a cornucopia of squirrels in my back yard. They spend an inordinate amount of time playing with each other and an even greater amount of time copulating. When they aren't having sex they are digging up my yard to store nuts.

I have a couple of rabbits that live in my back yard under my shed that I really like (bunnie-1 and bunnie-2) and I try and help them out by leaving vegetable scraps around the shed for them to eat.

Those annoying squirrels take about 90% of that food for themselves. The rabbits are passive creatures and seem to accept that the squirrels will take most of their food.

I devise many situations to ensure my bunnies get the food, but it's usually a lost cause.

Squirrels are the kings of stealing food.

I don't want to even begin to talk about how they mess up my garden plans every year.

Basically, I dislike squirrels.

ltr
 

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How about a new strategy? Take down the plexiglass and put chocolate bars and peanut butter sandwiches on the roof of the bird feeder. See how long it takes Mr Squirrel to get so fat he can't do his Flying Wallenda act. Or if he is shrewd enough to enjoy treats in moderation and not get fat then he is smarter than both of us.
 

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Crack the shell on a peanut and the squirrel will eat it right away, because it won't "keep" as well in storage.

Crack a whole bunch of peanuts and watch the squirrels loading up. They will sit around eating peanuts and playing video games all day.
 
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