I wish the world's problems could be solved as easily as I solved my squirrel problem. I like squirrels. I do. I just don't like to feed them at the expense of the small birds that winter over. Squirrels are perpetually hungry and their appetites are voracious. Fond of seeds and nuts, they consider the food I set out for the birds theirs for the taking. So this week I hied myself over to the local Agway to replenish my seed supply and while I was there I bought two "squirrel proof" feeders. Designed to bear the weight of small songbirds, the cage has a spring loaded feeder tube that drops down to close the open feed ports when anything as heavy as a blue jay or a squirrel climbs aboard. So far, they're working. The squirrels give up after a minute or two of fruitless gnawing and drop back to the ground to eat the little seed spilled there by the birds.
I am not without heart. I spread a tray of peanuts for the squirrels and jays at a distance from the cottage. It's a noisy place. I've seen a jay swoop down and snatch a peanut from the paws of a squirrel, who then chatters loudly, flicking its tail and spewing squirrel curses at the errant bird. I've also seen the silly squirrels bury the nuts in the snow where watchful jays locate them moments later.
Last week I posted a photo of a chickadee being hand fed and though I posted due credit below my own words, some readers thought I'd taken the picture. I wish I was that kind of photographer! The pictures of the feeders here are my own. As you can see, it would take a far more skilled eye (and hand) than mine to photograph myself feeding a bird. I've done that, though, fed a bird in my hand. The chickadees that come to my feeders are quite bold. If I sit on the stoop at feeding time with seed in my palm and I am patient and quiet, one or two of the little creatures will perch on my fingers and look at me with their bright little eyes. I don't have a photo to prove it, though.