Squirrels: We hate to love them! A New Year’s Resolution for Florida’s Wild Bird Watchers
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And, yet… love them we do! So, this year, let’s resolve to find some matched peace between the species; us and them. Let’s try to get along. After all, aside from their obsessive need to raid every feeder of its seed within a ten block radius, they’re cute and cuddly. Besides, like Scooter at the back door of the Wild Birds Unlimited’s Nature shop in Clearwater/Safety Harbor, some even become tame to the point where they will venture near to us and eagerly remove whatever handout they are offered. That’s disturbingly cute… and the staff is a slave to his whims! But, however cute and adorable they may be, behind those almond-shaped orbs of deep brown… they hide a sinister purpose: To pillage –every-single–feeder- we place in our yards to the point of utter depravity.
The gluttony is disgusting but comical! Check out this HILARIOUS squirrel video…
It‘s a chilling sight, to be sure. While I suppose we shouldn’t attribute human emotion to our furry and feathered counterparts, one has to wonder on what –exactly- squirrels do when we’re not watching?
The deft skill they employ to break into what many consider “impregnable” wild bird feeders is, quite frankly, frightening! How do they manage it? Do they have meetings on the topic? Gangs of opposing colors wearing bandanas with peanuts printed on them… labeled with ridiculous names like, “The Pinellas Lawn Raiders” or “Sons of Furballs”?? How is it that something so adorable and so small, with such an innocent demeanor can, at its core, be so devious and mischievous?
The answer (Because there is one) is… thumbs! Well, specifically, prehensile use of the hands… meaning: Fingers. Squirrels have hands which include fingers and a small thumb. And that’s how humans, time and again… have lost the war against these little balls of ingenious design and criminal intent. While we were busy inventing the wheel and walking on the moon, yet still don’t have the fine motor skills needed to open those flimsy produce bags, squirrels have been successfully raiding seed stores for hundreds of years with nary a challenge.
Somewhere, evolution took a dark and twisted turn…
Many wild bird feeders are made, of course, for ease of use by wild birds. However, many designs don’t account for the impact of several small furry animals with hands like ours to be lifting the lids and placing them back down again like a child hiding his intrusion into Grandma’s cookie jar. Many so-called “squirrel-proof” feeders are designed with smaller openings, hatch lids with clasps (which squirrels pick like cat burglars) and perches which do less to thwart the crime than they do to help support their statures as they do it. Go figure!
However, there is an answer. Thinking outside the box, Wild Birds Unlimited’s well-trained minds have come up with an ingenius design in their squirrel proof feeder which makes it, truly… squirrel proof!
Realizing that the usual deterrent measures were simply antiquated, WBU designers decided to stop the access altogether by inventing the “WBU Eliminator Squirrel Proof Feeder System”. With initial design structured as most common wild bird feeders are; holes and perch surrounding the perimeter with a center tube for seed storage, this design looks completely ordinary and serves its purpose as expected but for one small design change… the openings close tight once weight is applied.
Yes! Finally! A formidable battle tool!!
While stationary for any average bird weighing a mere ounce or two, the eliminator closes tight once the weight of anything like, say, a SQUIRREL… stands on it. The entire feed cache closes softly and safely and all entry points are sealed preventing any further seed loss to our furry seed snatchers. Once the squirrel removes its weight from the perching area, the seed ports reopen and wild birds can once again feed uninterrupted.
Sorry Scooter, there’s more!
Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor also suggests other tools for preventing seed loss due to squirrels. Squirrel baffles can be placed on most any applicable WBU bird feeding system to serve as an impediment as squirrels try to crawl or climb the feeder set up. These designs serve to thwart wasteful seed loss which can become expensive and messy and can drive wild bird activity from your planned backyard habitat.
But all is not lost for Scooter’s relations, either! Florida, awash with a squirrel population that could rival the Huns… must learn to live with them and even, at times, welcome them into our habitat areas. Doing so promotes new plant growth as squirrels consume native plant life and naturally deposit it again where further growth can be sustained and spread. They serve a valuable purpose in Florida’s ecosystem and, while they can prove a bother, their cuteness is undeniable.
With popularity rivaling YouTube’s oft presented cute kittens that “twerk” like Cyrus and lost puppies that nurse from tigers, squirrels are entertaining. And Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor dares to indulge with feeders suited just for their acrobatics! The “Fundamentals Interactive Squirrel Feeder” offers an easy to lift lid which gives plenty of access to any curious squirrel, hungry for seed or nuts. The “Fundamentals Table and Chair” offers whimsical humor as squirrels can sit (and they do sit!) and dine on cob corn in comfort. To further encourage their antics, try affixing corn to the ends of Wild Birds Unlimited’s Squngee Feeder. Fastened to the end of a bungee-like elastic cord, corn can be eaten by any furry friend willing to play for its food. And play they do!
So while the battle rages on between the species, no one will go hungry. Squirrels will win our hearts and smiles, hands down… every time. They have the advantage in those dexterous digits and we are captured by those big, brown eyes and flicking tail so, if we can’t beat them… we may as well… enjoy them!
Enjoy these fun squirrel videos from Wild Birds Unlimited!
- Gift Giving is for the Wild Bird Watchers! (northwoodcommonsbackyardbirdblog.com)
- Squirrels as Charcters (selwell549.wordpress.com)
- When You Need a New Bird Feeder (gardenwalkgardentalk.com)
*All materials related to this blog are the property of Wild Birds Unlimited in Clearwater/Safety Harbor and its agents. No part may be used or reproduced without the written consent of WBU Clearwater/Safety Harbor or its assigned agents.