News from the Squirrel Front

The squirrels have made advances, countering our counter measures.

My wife and I splurged a little recently and bought a starter bird feeder hanger system, designed to be expanded with additional attachments. It stands 6 feet or so, once about 1 foot’s worth of of the pole is augered into the ground for stability. It has two main hangers for a variety of bird feeder sizes.

Well-made, easy to install. Would recommend. Source

Setting this thing up was a bit of a thrill, thinking as I was the additional bird species more feeders would bring to our yard. The pole itself did not come with any squirrel countermeasures built it, but we thought its height and distance from our one large tree would be enough.

We were wrong.

Granted, I was not disappointed with the avian reception our new feeder system got. Within a few hours, black-capped chickadees and dark-eyed juncos came to investigate and sample the bird feed.

Then came the squirrels. It might be on individual, it might a few. Either way, the crafty rodent did not think twice about scrambling up the pole hand-over-hand to access the feeders. The pole waved and shimmed precariously each time the squirrel used it for a jungle gym.

My wife and discussed it briefly and decided to grease the pole in some way, to limit the squirrel’s ability to grip. I thought a bottle of aloe vera would do the trick and not prove harmful to any animals if ingested.

With bottle in hand, I lathered up the pole with liberal amounts of aloe vera. The sheen of the plant-based lube glinted in the afternoon sun.

I was never fortunate enough to see a squirrel try to climb the newly greased pole and slide back down, but it seemed to work for a time.

Then the squirrels took to the air.

Much to our surprise and honest admiration, at least one squirrel shimmed up a stout bush near the feeder and vaulted itself a good 4 feet on to the top of the feeder pole. Multiple times it’s done this over the past few days, completely emptying one of the two feeders we have hanging.

But my wife and I have plan. Our next move with be to re-position the pole to a different part of the yard, much farther away from any potential squirrel jumping off points. I’ll keep the dispatches coming to update anyone reading this on our progress.

Check out my first dispatch in our squirrel arms race here:

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