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.

Daniel Mason

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