Date: 11/7/18 7:53 am From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...> Subject: squirrels
Sometimes earlier this year, after winter was over, I stopped feeding the birds. Some years I stop in the warmer weather, some years I don't. But raccoons helped me make that decision this year. They managed to get around and eventually break off the squirrel baffle I had that seemed to work well. Squirrels left our feeder alone back then... which is a bit odd considering the ways in which they could have gotten on there that would be easier then than it is now...
So a while ago I finally bought a new feeder. Our old one was cedar, which I loved, and it was in poor shape. We had it for quite a few years. One issue was that eventually it developed moisture problems inside... So it was time for a new one. I bought one that is metal and has a better design to prevent moisture from collecting... but has the overall same design that I liked where birds can feed on opposite sides and then the ends have suet cages. I don't like the way the lid stays on and I might have to address that in the future but for now, I'm happy with it.
When I set it up, I did a few other things. I built a new baffle with a 4 foot long(I think - ish) 8" galvanized pipe and an end cap. It took a little bit of work to cut the hole in the end cap... and I used some brown and green paints to make it kind of camo-ish so it's not just a bright shiny metal thing. It actually looks better than I thought it would and so far, nothing has gotten up it. :)
I needed to clear some brush and small trees from the area as it would be easy to hop on over from some branches. I made it not so easy... but, now that I had it more difficult than last winter... there was a squirrel on there. So I started figuring out different things... cleared a few more branches, etc... seemed good... then, there was that squirrel again. (there's actually at least 2 that hang out)
We discovered they were pretending to be flying squirrels and jumping off the roof. So a little at a time I found which trees they were using to get on the roof to begin with. It was fun watching them "fly" to the feeder though... sometimes missing. Brave little guys, all for a few sunflower seeds. I finally, 2 days ago, got all the trees close to the house(they needed to go anyway) and all was good. Til about half an hour ago when I heard the crash and saw him sitting there again. A branch in our peach tree was swaying. Now, I could trim that branch I suppose... but, boy are these things determined. So, I'm looking at other things to do.
I just did a quick search and found a few recommendations but, I'm asking for opinions on these ideas from anyone that's tried them.
1. Safflower seed. They mentioned squirrels don't really like it. BUT... I have a few questions/concerns with that. Is safflower cheaper or more expensive than sunflower? Would it result in the same birds? Do the red-breasted nuthatches like it? I don't want to stop feeding them what they like as we've never had some stick around this long before. It's been nice. Oh, and do squirrels actually leave it alone? Honestly, I go back and forth with seed choices. In the past I've used mostly mixed stuff that was cheaper. Using sunflower has been nice in a way but, it's also what drew in the raccoons and, I'm not getting as many ground feeders as I used to. Thinking about mixing it up a bit or putting another feeder out. We'll see. For now, I'm curious about the safflower vs sunflower.
2. Pepper. It mentioned adding pepper to the seed, and that would deter the squirrels. We have cayenne pepper I could mix in pretty easily. Does that work on the squirrels? Has anyone tried it? That sounds like an easy solution if it works.
If I can discourage them from being interested in the first place, I don't have to go back and forth trying to "fix" every new thing they figure out.