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Squirrel Buster

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 Last weekend, we moved into a new house. The boxes aren’t unpacked yet, but we quickly set to work arranging bird feeders in the backyard. So far we’ve met some of the bird residents of our neighborhood- a hearty number of robins, a few chickadees who dart up to the window feeder in the living room, and a pair of mourning doves who patrol the ground for seeds and took the first dip into the birdbath on the deck. We’ve also discovered that we have some pretty brazen squirrels. After chasing one squirrel in particular away from the tray of seeds on our deck, I was excited to see him have a go at our Brome Squirrel Buster feeder. The experience definitely did not disappoint.

  After attempts to jump off a tree branch showed that the feeder was out of reach, the squirrel began his ascent up the shepherd’s hook. We watched him catch his balance at the top of the hook. Watching squirrels balance, I like to imagine them as small performers tight rope walking. I love the moment before a squirrel makes his attempt at a feeder. Part of me feels confident that feeder will deter the squirrel. Another part of me watches intrigued, wondering if the squirrel will be able to figure out the puzzle. As the squirrel made his way down the feeder, I waited with anticipation. The squirrel climbed down on the feeder. His weight was too much for the feeder. The seed ports closed. I wonder if he realized that he triggered the closing mechanism. We watched him move all the way around the feeder, trying to get at the birdseed that he could see but not eat. Finally he was back where he started. Maybe I was just projecting, but it looked like he had a puzzled expression on his face. As he leapt off the feeder, it felt good to think, “Squirrel busted.”