Wednesday, March 14, 2018

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again (Wednesday Vignette)

Last year, I equipped my garden with squirrel resistant bird feeders.  I now have 6 of these and, after a period in which the local squirrels made repeated attempts to bypass their safeguards, I saw a reduction in squirrel activity in my garden.  They mainly confined themselves to feeding off seed dropped to the ground below the feeders by birds  - and eating the petals of my Gazanias.  However, last Sunday, I noticed a squirrel repeatedly trying to bust through the defenses of one of the feeders visible from my office window.  He was relentless.  I'm not exaggerating in estimating that he launched dozens of attacks, one after another, after another, with barely a moment's pause.

Up the feeder pole he goes

At the top, he spends a moment contemplating his strategy

He carefully lowers himself down head first onto the largest feeder, sold to me as the "Squirrel Buster Plus" model

He clutches the sides of the feeder with his back paws, trying to avoid pressing down on the ring at the bottom of the feeder, which closes the seed portals

He can't hold on long and he falls head first toward the ground

He quickly recovers and springs back to the pole

He heads back up

Is he resting?  Enjoying the scenery?  Or is he contemplating a new approach?

He lowers himself down onto the feeder once again

Repeating his prior strategy

But the result is the same and he heads back up the pole yet again.  The feeder is so close and yet so unavailable.

At last, he attempts a different technique, reaching over to grasp the feeder as he holds on to the pole with his back legs

As he slides down, the pressure of his paws on the feeder's ring closes the seed portals

His back legs slowly slide down the pole

He swings around facing the bottom the the feeder

He hung there swinging from the bottom of the feeder several times 

Before he finally gave up


The process continued for well over an hour.  I snapped photos at intervals.  The birds returned each time he landed on the ground, only to fly away as he climbed back up the feeder pole.  Eventually I gave up recording his efforts and, somewhat later, he finally moved along.  I can't believe he got enough seed to offset the effort he expended on his gymnastics.  I also haven't seen him or any other squirrel go up the pole in the days since.  But, one day, I expect a new squirrel will move into the garden and the cycle will repeat itself.

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. Hahaha - Squirrel Buster Plus, indeed! I have to say, I do admire his tenacity. In fact, I wish I had half of it! What a great documentation of his efforts. Kris - I really enjoyed this post! It made me appreciate some of the futility in the things I attempt, too. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a wise woman, Anna, if you can learn life lessons from a squirrel!

      Delete
  2. When we lived in Massachusetts I had a large metal bird feeder with a pressure bar that raccoons managed to get off the hook and drag several feet away across the ground, scattering seed everywhere and pretty much destroying it. Those buggers have been my enemies for a long time. I enjoyed seeing the antics of your squirrel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The raccoons have never attacked the feeders here. Given their behavior elsewhere, I should have wondered why not earlier.

      Delete
  3. You need to send this post to the makers of that feeder -- I think that's a proper test of squirrel busting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might do that if the manufacturer would give me a discount. Those things are expensive!

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. My squirrels are plenty fat and happy enough without that, Eric!

      Delete
  5. Squirrels are nothing if not persistent. They're quite clever, too. They mostly make me laugh (except when they dig up my bulbs or unearth the sunflower seeds). Then I just shake me head and admire their determination. You got some terrific photos and I loved your commentary to go with them.






    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually do admire their persistence and even the occasional ingenuity they display in discovering new methods of thievery.

      Delete
  6. Oh, they can be so annoying, can't they? Tenacious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems that they eventually do learn that some activities are futile - but then a new squirrel shows up in the garden and the sequence repeats itself.

      Delete
  7. I've had good luck with the cone shaped squirrel baffles that go on the pole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, my mother-in-law used those in her garden. Maybe I should invest in one for each of my feeder poles, although at this point, they're no longer getting much of the seed and there's some entertainment value in watching them.

      Delete
  8. Tasty bird seed must be worth all the efforts. We have a small squirrel buster feeder that we have to bring inside each evening because of raccoons. The squirrels gave up. Great story of tenacity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alison mentioned the raccoons too. Oddly, although those creatures plague me in all sorts of other ways, they've never tangled with the bird feeders here.

      Delete
  9. Oh your pictures are hilarious - from the safety of my squirrel-less garden! You make me wish my rabbits offered as much entertainment. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you should mention rabbits...See my latest foliage follow-up post.

      Delete
  10. What a determined fellow! They are very clever and I wonder if somewhere down line one of them will succeed in cracking the case (solving the problem). I bet there are lots of squirrel conversations going on somewhere about those pesky feeders that won't feed them. Thanks for the documentation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll see if those squirrel conversations reduce the number of youngsters making attempts on the feeders in future years, Barbara!

      Delete
  11. I know this is probably horrible to say, but I found myself feeling a little sorry for him...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, even I admired his persistence, Loree, but it's not as though there isn't a LOT of seed on the other end of the garden he could eat. The 3 feeders in view of my office do contain the better (more expensive) seed but, as the saying goes, "beggars can't be choosers."

      Delete
  12. Well at least the squirrel provided a whole day's worth of entertainment and the feeder did what it said so that's a plus. Reading your post made me smile a lot and that's never a bad thing so thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Impressive and entertaining! Maybe a little stupid, especially if there's other seed nearby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apparently this squirrel is a seed connoisseur - no cheap seed for him!

      Delete
  14. This one had me laughing and almost rooting for the squirrel. Almost. Glad your feeders defeated him in the end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's really not starving, Deb. There's a lot of seed on the ground at the other end of the garden, dropped by the birds. The feeders in view outside my office just have higher-grade seed and apparently he's picky!

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions!