Nature at its best. Feeding your backyard Birds & Squirrels

Pictures from the back yard

blue jay waiting for the feeder to be refilled
blue jay waiting for the feeder to be refilled | Source
blue jay and a red bird sharing food at the trough
blue jay and a red bird sharing food at the trough
A blue jay and a red bird sharing food at the community trough
A blue jay and a red bird sharing food at the community trough
Squirrels stealing the pumpkin seeds from the birds
Squirrels stealing the pumpkin seeds from the birds
special feeding bowl for squirrels with corn, sunflower seeds, and nuts
special feeding bowl for squirrels with corn, sunflower seeds, and nuts
A red bird visiting the feeding trough
A red bird visiting the feeding trough
A love bird eating the seeds the squirrels threw on the ground
A love bird eating the seeds the squirrels threw on the ground
A land tortoise scouring for food
A land tortoise scouring for food
wasps dining on flower nectar
wasps dining on flower nectar
A red headed woodpecker digging bugs out of a dead tree trunk
A red headed woodpecker digging bugs out of a dead tree trunk
A monarch butterfly at rest in a nearby tree
A monarch butterfly at rest in a nearby tree
My lazy cat basking in the sun and totally ignoring the birds and squirrels
My lazy cat basking in the sun and totally ignoring the birds and squirrels
Wild flowers blooming around a fallen dead tree
Wild flowers blooming around a fallen dead tree
A wild iris arising out of the ashes of a recent fire
A wild iris arising out of the ashes of a recent fire
My dog Dude, watching the activity through a screen door
My dog Dude, watching the activity through a screen door
Tommy, Benji and Peanut - basking in the sun, totally oblivious to the birds, squirrels, and butterflies around them
Tommy, Benji and Peanut - basking in the sun, totally oblivious to the birds, squirrels, and butterflies around them
A butterfly resting on a watering jug
A butterfly resting on a watering jug

The joys and the horrors of feeding the birds and the squirrels.

When i lived in northern Northern New England, i used to love watching the birds, listening to them sing their little songs and chirp their little chirps. They were just taken for granted as they've always been around as long as i can remember.

It is time to stop and enjoy the sights, smells, and everyday beauties of nature once again.

After i moved to Florida i didn't give it much thought with the busy-ness of work and just living life in the fast lane in general.

Then when i moved to the country in northern Florida i started realizing i could go for days and weeks without seeing any birds or other wild animals that i had always just taken for granted. So i set out on a quest to get them to come and live with me and the dogs and cats, on our 10 acres of woods.

After purchasing a bag of bird seed at the local Walmart, i put up several cheap plastic bird feeders around the back yard to attract them. Slowly but surely they started to visit and partake of the bounty.


My encounter with the bratty squirrels

After a couple of weeks i noticed that some of the feeders were missing.

When i investigated i found them on the ground with the strings that held them up, broken, or rather chewed.

Confused and befuddled, i put them back together and re-hung them in the trees once again filled with bird seed.

Again they were found on the ground - empty.

After the third try i decided i had to further investigate this mystery. So i started watching them.

To my amazement i saw 2 squirrels come down from a tree, out on the branch and down to the feeder.

After a few attempts to reach the seeds, they kept falling off because the perches were to small and wobbly to support their weight while they stole the bird seeds.

So, they simply chewed the string in half and when the feeders fell to the ground they went down and ate to their little hearts content.

I tried heavier string, then metal wires.

But the squirrels were determined and apparently smarter than i had given them credit for being, as they managed to do the same thing with the heavier string and wire hangers.

Now i noticed that there were 4 squirrels instead of 2.

They found re-enforcement troops. Now it was 4 against one.Them against me.

So, up went the metal pole with a feeder on top of it. To no avail. They mounted the metal pole like it was wood and took the plastic cover off the top and threw it to the ground and just picked the seeds out of the top.

Now it was war.

I would just replace the cap and tried greasing the metal pole. They still went up the pole, though slowing down a little with the slipping and sliding, and took the cover off.

After a couple of those episodes i found the covers 20 to 30 feet away in the woods.

I suspect they carried them there thinking i was to stupid to find it.

Well i wasn't.

I found them and put right back on the top.

After a couple times of that little game i couldn't find the cover at all in the usual spot they were carried off to. So, i went searching the woods behind the house.

I found the cover more than 100 feet out into the woods.

Now there were 6 of them. The war was escalating.

I decided that i was not smarter than the squirrels after all.

So they won the war.

I bought a metal bird feeder with a metal cap attached by a metal chain and nailed the feeder to a platform i had to build to hold the feeder on top of that metal pole.

As i watched those darned squirrels go up that pole and lift that metal cover off and push it to the side i had to make a decision as just exactly what to do with those smart-alecky squirrels.

Now there were 8 of them.

They brought their dam in-laws to join them in this battle !!


The terms of the truce between me and the squirrels:

Since i had become attached to those little pesky squirrels i bought a metal doggy bowl, set it up on on a bench just near the wood line and keep it filled with squirrel feed.

The birds are now quite plentiful in the back yard too. There are red ones, blue ones, brown ones, love birds, sparrows, 2 redheaded woodpeckers and i even saw a couple of little hummingbirds around the flowers.

When the squirrels run out of food in their dish, they still climb that pole and remove the cover.

This lets me know it is time to refill their bowl.

There are still only 8 of them, though i suspect only until the babies arrive!


All is peace and harmony:

I have a big brown toad with a couple of her babies that moved into the back yard, and i saw a ground turtle yesterday meandering across the yard.

Everyone is happy now.

It took some time with those darn squirrels, but i think they finally got me trained.

I truly love feeding and watching all those little critters in my back yard. The dogs find some sport in chasing the squirrels and terrorizing them, but i think the squirrels know that they can out run the dogs.

I don't have to worry about the dogs harming them as they will never be fast enough to catch the squirrels, and it gives them pleasure to try, and it amuses me to watch this every day.

And since i put up the field fence across the back yard even the rabbits have safe refuge beyond the fence from my fierce little dogs.

And the cat? Well, she just lays around on the back porch and watches it all with awe.

Once in a while a chameleon will wander too close to her and she has a little snack in between her meals.

I don't particularly like her doing that and i have told her so on many occasions, but she doesn't listen to me either.

I guess it's just a mother nature thing anyway.

by: d.william 09/04/10

Mississippi squirrel revival

© 2010 d.william

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Comments 2 comments

jcm_blabs profile image

jcm_blabs 5 years ago from My Bunker in the Midwest

DW, this has taught me that these squirrels are more cunning that I've given them credit for! I laughed at how they would hide your feeder covers. That's amazing how they can be calculating and sneaky like humans. Thanks for a fantastic squirrel anecdote. :-D


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south Author

thanks for reading. And yes, they are way smarter than people give them credit for, as are most other animals.

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