- Sue Hawley
For years we have fed birds during the winter months. Currently we have three bird feeders scattered around the property and my husband faithfully fills them as needed. He will brave minus zero weather to fill those feeders. We have enjoyed watching red headed woodpeckers, robins, chick-a-dees, finches as well as various others feed each day. I don’t like blue jays. They have a nasty temperament and tend to chase all the others away from the feeders. Some years we have more, some years less but I flat out don’t like them.
There is another guest at the feeders who invited themselves and are unwelcome. Squirrels. They love bird food and will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve the prize in the feeders. As I watch them steal food meant for our feathered friends I have to wonder why they didn’t bother to store all the nuts from our walnut tree. Didn’t they remember winter was right around the corner? Isn’t that what squirrels are supposed to do each year? Didn’t we learn that back in 3rd grade, or maybe it was 4th. Have we, as a society, spoiled these creatures to the point they have given up their survival DNA?
Every morning as my husband drinks his coffee, he spies a squirrel (or two) invading a bird feeder. Every morning a few choice words are muttered as he storms to the door to scare off the invaders. Every morning they scoot at the sound of the door opening and scurry up the pine tree. Every. Single. Morning. But they're simply faking it---they don’t actually leave, but merely out wait him. They have it timed (I had no idea squirrels had timers, they must be related to my pets). After his coffee is finished and he’s back at work downstairs they make their way back to the feeder and begin the feast again. Every morning.
But this morning the ritual changed. Yes, my husband saw the squirrels. And yes, he muttered choice words and headed for the door. Yep, the squirrels scurried up the pine tree. But this morning my husband changed his pattern. For the first time in decades he headed outside and made a special place to feed the squirrels. They don’t know what hit them. Maybe they think it’s a trap. They haven’t been back. Yet.