Monday, July 11, 2011

War of the Squirrels

I want to tell you all a little story from my childhood.  This all took place over a summer I think, maybe longer when I was a teenager.

It all started simply with my Daddy putting up a birdfeeder.  Simple, right?  We already had a hummingbird feeder that we enjoyed very much, we loved watching the hummingbirds coming around every year so my Dad decided to put up a regular birdfeeder at our barn/workshed for other birds to come.  Our house backed up to a large wooded area that goes back for miles and tons of critters live back there, including my Daddy's number one enemy.....the squirrel!

We couldn't figure it out at first, how the birdfeeder was getting emptied so quickly.  Dad would fill it up, and within a day or two it would be empty.  One day, we saw them.  The little fuckers would get up on the roof of the barn, climb down the feeder, and eat the birdseed right out of the feeder. 

Well, first Dad hammered a narrow stick on the edge of the barn sticking out, and put the feeder at the end of it.  The squirrels would just climb across the stick, shimmy down the feeder and hang on while they ate. 

That just pissed my Dad off royally that he was outsmarted by these critters, so he started looking for a new feeder.  He found a "squirrel-proof" birdfeeder and brought it home.  This time, he hung it in a tree!  A big tall pine tree in our backyard.  The feeder was a good 12-15 feet off the ground, so there's no getting to it from below.  Well, the damn squirrels climbed the tree, walked across the limb, shimmied down the feeder, and hung on for dear life as they scooped out the seed with their paws onto the ground.  Then, they'd eat the seed off the ground. 
My Daddy was all like, "SQUIRREL-PROOF, MY ASS!" 

Then he got REALLY serious!  (Oh, you think what I've told you so far is serious?  You just wait!)  His BB gun came out of the closet and stayed by our sliding glass door so he could run them off.  I don't think he ever hit any of them, just scared them off with it, that's all.  Then, he took the feeder and rigged one of those metal pie plates on the top of the feeder so they couldn't shimmy down the feeder as easily.  He also fashioned a length of wire to hang it from, figuring it would be harder to climb down that way.  Then he moved the feeder farther out on the limb from the trunk of the tree too. 

Guess what guys?  Pie plate rig was a bust.  They could climb right around it, right down the feeder, scoop out the feed onto the ground and eat it.  They just had to avoid the BB gun and they were golden! 

By this time, my Dad was starting to lose it.  He wasn't about to give up and just take down the feeder...that would be admitting defeat, and my Dad would never EVER EVER admit defeat.......EVER.   Not to a bunch of "damned tree rats" as he called them. 

The last rig Daddy made, and I must say it was a thing of beauty.  He took the feeder, and rigged a HUBCAP on top!  Yes, I said a in from a car.  They can't climb around it from the top to shimmy down the feeder that way!  Then, when he put the feeder up, he moved the feeder waaaaaaaayyyyy the hell to the other end of the limb, as far as he could from the trunk of the tree. Very satisfied with his work, my Dad was all like, "There, you sons-a-bitches!  Try and get it now!"  That feeder was probably at least 6-8 feet, from the trunk of the tree so we figured there was no way in hell those squirrel could get to that feeder.


It did take them time to figure it out this time.  They tried the old way, climbing down the line, and tried to get around that damned hubcap to the feeder but realized that it was not gonna happen.  Next thing we knew, we were watching them one day laughing at our brilliance at out-smarting them this time, and one of those sons-a-bitches JUMPED from the trunk all the way over and landed on the stupid-ass feeder!  Then the SOB proceeded to do his thing...scoop out the feed onto the ground so that he and his little squirrel buddies could have their little squirrel feast.

Our fucking jaws hit the damned floor!  We could not believe it!  They had actually kamakazied their way into getting into that freakin feeder. 

My Dad didn't know what else to do at this point.  He had no more tricks up his sleeve, the hubcap was the last great redneck invention (it was a great one though wasn't it?).  We found that what the squirrrels wanted out of the birdfeed was the sunflower seeds and the dried corn.  Everything else, they left alone.  The only birds that would eat it off the ground though were doves and pigeons. 

My Daddy decided on a truce with the squirrels for that summer.  He bought a different seed for the birds, without the desired corn and sunflower seed so the squirrels would leave it alone, and then bought dried corn and sunflower seeds and would put them in pie plates out for the squirrels so keep them away from the feeder.  This way, the squirrels were happy and Dad didn't have to go insane like a redneck maniac trying to outsmart a bunch of "tree rats". 

I never knew that squirrels were so fuckin crafty, but I learned a lot about them that summer.  Learned a lot about my Dad too.  He is one persistent guy, and stubborn.  I know where I get it from now!  I am just like him. 

Hard to believe something this cute and innocent looking.....

Could be this ruthless and cunning!

Hope you enjoyed my little tale of insanity.  If you have a crazy story, tell me about it!  I'd love to know that I'm not alone and that your families are just as nutty as mine! (nutty...hehe, get it?)

1 comment:

Lady Estrogen said...

Ohh, I know all about this. My dad was battling the squirrels for YEARS as well... about 20, to be exact, before he beat them.
I remember buying him some joke t-shirt about squirrels when he finally won. I don't think he's ever worn it - he's not a sense of humor kinda guy. haha