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Top 9 Squirrel Intervention Suggestions (1 Viewer)

Ruff

Two birds in one.
Reminds me of the Stages Of Grief thing, but this item from 2011 just relayed by Cornell Labs on their Facebook page and so has that much professional credibility. Although... they don't discuss any of the commercial squirrel proof feeders, some of which are very-good-to-excellent.

Top 9 Squirrel Intervention Suggestions

January 15, 2011

When we put the question of squirrel deterrence to our Facebook fans, your ideas ran the gamut:

1. Obstruction
The most common tactic we heard was to put up some kind of baffle along the squirrel’s access route. Paint can lids, plastic funnels, stovepipe sections, and old LPs and CDs are hard to navigate around. But alas, not impossible.

2. Elevation
Feeders installed up high are harder to get to—and there’s always a chance your squirrels are afraid of heights. Unfortunately, stratospheric feeders can be hard to fill. One commenter ingeniously puts her feeder on a retractable clothesline.

Join the Cornell Lab 3. Isolation
If you have the right yard layout, hanging your feeder well away from trees and other high points may keep away squirrel paratroop squads.

4. Lubrication
A once-popular method to thwart squirrels is to grease your feeder poles. Though effective in the short term, this is one solution we recommend against. If birds get into the grease, it can seriously impair their feathers’ waterproofing and insulation.

5. Combination
Perhaps the most telling sign of the resourcefulness of squirrels is the number of commenters who resort to a combination of tactics, realizing that there is no single method of squirrelproofing.

A Gray squirrel enjoys some birdseed at a feeder.
A Gray squirrel manages to get into a feeder and enjoy some birdseed.

6. Altercation
Some of the most satisfied responses came from people with large dogs or neighborhood predators such as coyotes or hawks. (Though cats may also scare away squirrels, it’s a better idea to keep them inside, since cats are also a major threat to birds.)

7. Innovation
Feeders with built-in baffles; wire squirrel guards; counterweighted tray doors that slam shut under a squirrel’s weight; battery-operated feeders intended to fling mammalian invaders aside—anti-squirrel feeders are testament to the human imagination. Unfortunately, shortly after they go up, they’re often testament to squirrelish imagination as well.

8. Separation
Some frustrated bird watchers accept détente, setting aside an entire, easy-access feeder for squirrels, and another set of feeders for their birds.

9. Capitulation
“Squirrels are birds, too.” “Feed them both.” “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” These were some of the happiest responses we heard. Perhaps the surest route to peace of mind lies in making peace. Just don’t call it surrender.

Originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of BirdScope.


https://www.allaboutbirds.org/top-9-squirrel-intervention-suggestions/
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
The other option is hot chilli peppers (capsaicin) mixed in the food - birds are adapted to eating them and like them, squirrels aren't, and don't like the heat.

Only problem is that (just like curry junkie humans!) some squirrels learn to like hot peppers, too . . .
 

King Edward

Well-known member
The list is missing the option of not putting out feed at all, and simply encouraging birds through improvement of the habitat. This has many advantages:
1. It's cheaper
2. Doesn't require farmland elsewhere to be taken up growing birdfood.
3. Doesn't encourage squirrels, rats and pigeons.
4. Can benefit bird species that don't normally come to feeders.
5. Doesn't concentrate birds in an unnatural way that can spread disease (e.g. trichomoniasis in greenfinches).
6. Can benefit other wildlife in a way that simply putting out birds doesn't.
7. Bird numbers give a more accurate picture of your garden habitat value (e.g. good numbers of robins, dunnocks, tits etc. indicate decent invertebrate numbers, in a way that a steady stream of blue tits coming to a peanut feeder doesn't).
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
The list is missing the option of not putting out feed at all, and simply encouraging birds through improvement of the habitat. This has many advantages:
1. It's cheaper
2. Doesn't require farmland elsewhere to be taken up growing birdfood.
3. Doesn't encourage squirrels, rats and pigeons.
4. Can benefit bird species that don't normally come to feeders.
5. Doesn't concentrate birds in an unnatural way that can spread disease (e.g. trichomoniasis in greenfinches).
6. Can benefit other wildlife in a way that simply putting out birds doesn't.
7. Bird numbers give a more accurate picture of your garden habitat value (e.g. good numbers of robins, dunnocks, tits etc. indicate decent invertebrate numbers, in a way that a steady stream of blue tits coming to a peanut feeder doesn't).

Excellent post! But try telling it to BTO or RSPB!!
 

Ruff

Two birds in one.
^^^ Yes, and the squirrels here love bird gardens too. Or rather, exclusively. They clean them out.
 

Ruff

Two birds in one.
Yes and the squirrels here love bird gardens too. Or rather, exclusively. They clean them out.
 

MTem

Well-known member
The list is missing the option of not putting out feed at all, and simply encouraging birds through improvement of the habitat. This has many advantages:
1. It's cheaper
2. Doesn't require farmland elsewhere to be taken up growing birdfood.
3. Doesn't encourage squirrels, rats and pigeons.
4. Can benefit bird species that don't normally come to feeders.
5. Doesn't concentrate birds in an unnatural way that can spread disease (e.g. trichomoniasis in greenfinches).
6. Can benefit other wildlife in a way that simply putting out birds doesn't.
7. Bird numbers give a more accurate picture of your garden habitat value (e.g. good numbers of robins, dunnocks, tits etc. indicate decent invertebrate numbers, in a way that a steady stream of blue tits coming to a peanut feeder doesn't).

Perhaps the best option is actually to do both
 

humakt

Well-known member
Oh dear.
What a bunch of grumps you are.
Personally, we use a combination of #8 and #9 (in original post) - plus feeders in anti-squirrel cages (the thought of feeders that strike out at animals I find a bit distasteful and hypocritical in people I assume are wildlife lovers) and enjoy watching all the wildlife that comes along - and that includes the squirrels and pigeons.

But I like the ideas suggested in post #3 - hadn't thought of it that way. No reason why the two approaches can't be combined.

What I am not going to do though is pick on some animals and exclude others. That just doesn't seem right. All animals exist equally and in their own right, not just to make us feel better.
 

MTem

Well-known member
What I am not going to do though is pick on some animals and exclude others. That just doesn't seem right. All animals exist equally and in their own right, not just to make us feel better.

Certainly not the first (or last) time I've been called a 'grump'. Guilty as charged!

However, I would just suggest you consider also the implications of your view when it includes species introduced (knowingly or unwittingly) by man. New Zealand is probably the best/worst/most extreme example. There unless large numbers of introduced animals are daily 'removed' then few of the native fauna would still exist.
Also are you anti the rat/mouse eradication programmes on the offshore islands that are successfully allowing seabirds to raise young again after decades of failure?

"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others"

Grey squirrels in the UK are that equivalent, and their eradication (if it were possible) would be a positive in my view. Certainly I will do nothing to aid or encourage their existence, and encourage others to do likewise.

Mick
 

humakt

Well-known member
I’m sorry, but I have little time for this distinction between native and non-native species.
Presumably you feel the same about collared doves? Pheasants? Rabbits?

No, I doubt you do.

Animals do not share our same political borders. They are free to take advantage of wherever they find themselves. That’s what I find so interesting and rewarding about the natural world – it is quite amoral and equal in that sense.

In time any non-native species can find itself effectively part of an eco-system (for example, the rabbits and pheasants mentioned above). Unfortunately that sometimes means that some species are replaced. That’s the way the natural world works, I reckon. That’s amoral equality coming into play. That’s the reality of it, no matter how many times Attenborough breathless intones his false humanising animal motivations. The natural world is a brutal place and the fight for survival is a fight that all wild animals must equally contend with. Nobody told archaeopteryx that it belonged in place X and mustn’t flap over to place Y.

This quest and distinction between native and non-native is a nonsense for me, I’m afraid – they, and we, are on this Earth together. Sometimes it means that some species come off worse. Twas ever thus.

But you know what, I find it hard to be too fundamental about it. I’m sure there will be examples that challenge our different stances. I don’t doubt that. I don’t pretend it’s an easy issue that is fixed by sound bites.

For the time being though, all animals are equally welcome in my back garden.
 

MK90

Always learning
I find this argument so fascinating. It's interesting to see how two different people, who obviously both care for nature, approach the same issue from very different angles. I really enjoyed Fred Pearce's book The New Wild for the same reason. Very good for those who also find this subject intriguing.

Personally I tend to sit in the camp which allows introduced/invasive species to live un'controlled' if they are already established (Rabbits, RN Parakeets etc) but i do feel it is our responsibility to reduce the number of species that are introduced and control those that are yet to get a foothold in their new environment (harlequin ladybirds). Bit of a cop-out point of view i know.
 

MTem

Well-known member
I’m sorry, but I have little time for this distinction between native and non-native species.
Presumably you feel the same about collared doves? Pheasants? Rabbits?

No, I doubt you do.

Actually I do feel the same - and Collared doves were natural colonisers and not introduced by man, so irrelevant in this context.
It would be very interesting to see how long Pheasants would continue to exist if we didn't release millions of them every year. Repeated attempts to release more exotic pheasants have all failed to establish long term viable populations as far as I know.
Rabbits (and Little owls) are more interesting. Certainly the former have shaped our landscape substantially to the benefit of some species and the detriment of others. A much more complicated case for sure especially given the time involved, but one distinction from the squirrel case is there is no native species being eradicated to make way for them.

So I infer you are not in favour of the rat eradication schemes on the offshore islands then?

Look, I agree this is not a 'black and white' issue, and certainly our sound-bite environment tends to polarise issues, not encourage reflection and compromise. In many ways I empathise with your sentiment, but as in many things I feel the appropriate response is a shade of grey (no pun intended!) - in this case some intervention (control, eradication whatever) has to be considered, like in the Gough island Albatross and those pesky giant mice.

Happy Xmas!

Mick
 

humakt

Well-known member
Personally I tend to sit in the camp which allows introduced/invasive species to live un'controlled' if they are already established (Rabbits, RN Parakeets etc) but i do feel it is our responsibility to reduce the number of species that are introduced and control those that are yet to get a foothold in their new environment (harlequin ladybirds). Bit of a cop-out point of view i know.

Yes, I think that pretty much sums how I feel. Like you say, a cop out, but that's where I am.
 

humakt

Well-known member
So I infer you are not in favour of the rat eradication schemes on the offshore islands then?

Unfortunately I do not know enough about that particular case to comment.

...I feel the appropriate response is a shade of grey (no pun intended!) - in this case some intervention (control, eradication whatever) has to be considered, like in the Gough island Albatross and those pesky giant mice.

Yup, I think you're probably right. That's probably more along the lines of my strength of feelings. I just don't like and don't feel comfortable with the attitude that if a species is non-native it must be eliminated. I don't like that. But I accept there may be cases when that's very much the case. I'm not naive or idealistic.

Happy Xmas!

And a Happy Christmas to you too!
 

MTem

Well-known member
MK90, humakt - not a 'cop-out' at all in my view. Just an considered point of view - as I said despite what's occurring in the wider political arena I do feel these 'grey' compromise positions are actually usually the right long-term ones.

Mick
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Gray Squirrels wouldn't be a problem if we allowed Pine Martens to recolonise throughout Britain :t:

Unfortunately, those idiot gamekeepers on shooting estates will do everything to stop that happening :storm: :-C
 

Ruff

Two birds in one.
Not to pick on my several local species of squirrels, but some control of their gluttonous tendency to monopolise feeders and also to use their little paws dump the contents of feeders onto the ground must be in place or most of the birds that come to them will not benefit. The way things are now, the birds drop enough onto the ground that all species benefit.
 

Shoobeeda

New member
Howdy folks! Shoobeeda (age 5) recently discovered the magical animal family called Bird when we moved out of the city and she is so smitten we attached a little feeder the only place we could, on our wood railing around our balcony. Unfortunately a squirrel (foreverafter referred to as The Jerk) has bullied all the birds away over the course of the last week, and is destroying the feeder. Due to the placement most of the recommendations won't fit for us, but I'm interested in the chili pepper one. Are we talking ground Cayenne pepper, dried skins mixed in, hot sauce doused over everything, or a little motion sensored can of mace? Anyone had any luck with this? I would hate to have to bag the whole thing, she was so enjoying running to the sliding door to watch the cardinals, and our favorite the black-capped chickadee :)
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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