Sunday, December 2, 2007

Team Work - It's for the...Squirrels?

As I said above, I have been trying to get birds to visit my house for a long time. I've hung the feeders, cleaned the feeders, switched the seed in them and to no avail. They still insisted on going to the neighbor's house for their fix. My very sweet neighbors don't know the pain they've caused me. Their birds awaken me in the morning with their chirping. They fly by my house on their way to the neighbors' and when they leave. They're mocking me...I'm tellin' ya...they're mocking me! All the while, my feeders remain untouched.

It had been over a year since I started this quest and I'd virtually given up. I grabbed the feeder that a friend gave me for Christmas last year, from the place where it hung prominently on my front porch and headed for the big black garbage can. I squeezed it and was amazed that not one seed fell off. It seems the manufacturers must have used Super-Glue to hold it together. But on the way, I thought, "Why not give it one more chance. So I hung the bell-shaped feeder in the tree as I passed.
It hung there all summer. Not one bird was interested. As the weather got colder, I was contemplating trashing it afterall. But then something remarkable happened. I watched as a squirrel climbed the tree. He went straight to the feeder, and held it with his teeth, while he shook it violently with his paws. I don't know what those seeds are stuck together with, but it didn't hold up to the squirrel's abuse. Now it was a shapeless blob, still hanging in it's plastic mesh cover. The squirrel hurried down the tree and gathered up all the seeds he had shaken loose.A few minutes later, the birds began to come. They enjoyed the fruits (I mean seeds) of the squirrels labor. And I got the pictures to prove it. Who knew that birds and squirrels were such good friends? I certainly didn't. After all my worry and sleepless nights, it turns out all I needed was to befriend a squirrel. Sheesh...who woulda thunk it?



bunnygirl said...

I actually have known squirrels and birds to intentionally take up for each other.

I once had an outdoor cat and one day it caught a squirrel. The blue jays attacked the cat, swooping down and pecking him on the head over and over to make him release the squirrel.

I've read that humans are the only altruistic animal, but I don't believe it!

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Really? That is so interesting...I had no idea. So where do bunnies fit in? ha!


plaidearthworm said...

Okay, this sounds crazy, but it's the absolute truth: the wild birds around my house will only eat cat or dog food. They started flying down and stealing a piece a few years ago. They organized a little queue, flitting around until each one had a turn and a bit of crunchy. I thought, okay, it's winter and I'll get them some bird food and put it in a feeder. They wouldn't touch it. It sat there, uneaten. They refuse to give up their Friskies and Ol' Roy puppy food. Last year, they would start their swoops, and if I didn't have the food put out yet, they'd chirp at the window. Don't know if it works for anyone else, but treating them like the other pets works for me.

Melanie Avila said...

My grandmother battled the squirrels in her backyard for years. She didn't have a problem getting birds to come, but apparently they weren't helping out the squirrels. Those things would climb up a one-inch wide post to get to the goodies!

I'd also never heard of this partnership - very interesting.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Hmmm...maybe I'll fill my bird feeders with cat chow. I wonder if it's bad for them? I know it's really high in protein...that's why DOGS always go for it.

Yeah-squirrels can be pests and I won't go out of my way to feed them as there are tons of them across the street at the park. Raccoons also eat dog and cat food...that's why we don't leave our pet food outside. Raccoons can get really big and can be rabbid and get into fights with cats. So we don't encourage them.

I am excited to have a few birds though. Now if I could just get the squirrels to be fair and not run off with like 80% of the seed.


Linda Austin said...

I have one of those squirrel baffles on my pole feeder, and so the messy blackbirds stop by to do the squirrels' job of tossing seed everywhere. In your photos, do you know what those gray-brown birds are with the yellow areas? I am an avid birder and I don't recognize them...look like warblers, but don't look like any in my book. Female or immature goldfinches?

Karen L. Alaniz said...

I'm sorry...I don't know my birds. I only know robins, crows and seagulls. I should know and I actually would like to know. Where's a good birding book when you need it. We do have finches around here and I understand that they change color with the season. Is that right?

Linda Austin said...

Yes, some birds do change color--when it is not breeding season they are duller in color. Goldfinches can look like a different bird in winter. Your birds have a slender beak like a warbler, vs a sturdy finch beak.

By the way, those blue jays probably were not helping the squirrel, rather they can be very aggressive towards their own enemies esp if babies are near.