Saturday, June 19, 2010

To Feed or Not to Feed

My Saturday morning routine is to take Monty for a walk, start the coffee, then water all the house plants and fill the bird feeders. By the time I’m done with the plants and the birds, the coffee is ready and depending on the season, I can take a stroll around the gardens with my coffee and see what’s what or sit in the sunroom and read the paper and watch the birds come to the feeders. Unfortunately, the birds aren’t the only ones coming to the feeders – squirrels come, too. And they’re seed hogs. So, I’m in a quandary – to feed or not to feed.

I know there are some who would say I shouldn’t feed the birds at all – especially in an urban setting like mine because it encourages vermin. “Before you know it, your house and all the ones near you will be crawling with mice.” They warn. So far, that hasn’t happened, and I’ve lived in a house crawling with mice, so I do know the signs. But, there’s something lovely and restful about watching birds come to the feeders and I am loathe to stop feeding them. I just want the squirrels to stop getting all the food!

I don’t currently have squirrel baffles/guards on the feeders, and frankly am a little skeptical. At the St Paul house, I did use a 4 inch diameter piece of PVC pipe to deter the squirrels, but that was for a platform like feeder and not for the shepherd’s hook’s I now have. Has anyone deterred squirrels with any success? If so, are you willing to share your secret?!


JenK said...

At our old house (aka "squirrel central") we battled squirrels on our feeders constantly. First, we tried a baffle to keep them from climbing up. Soon they were leaping ridiculous distances off of nearby trees or our roof in an attempt to land above the baffle (it was quite comical, but it was never long before they found the right leaping point and made it to the top of the feeder). We finally bought one of the bird feeders with a metal frame that closed over the holes if a squirrel's weight perched on it. That worked well for us.

Auntie K said...

JenK, I had no idea that was the name for your city dwelling! It seems to be a theme, though, for us. I have seen those feeders with the weight sensitive perches and wondered if they worked. Thanks for the tip. They're a little more expensive than a "regular" feeder, but I'm guessing the savings in seeds will make up the difference in a hurry. I'm putting this on my list of must haves.

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