Squirrels are interesting creatures. There is thistle just for the finches, in a tall cylindrical feeder hung on a post out of the reach of (most) squirrels (most of the time). Squirrels being adventuresome risk takers, one will occasionally make it on to the feeder, but then has a hard time getting in to it. And finally – they don’t really like thistle anyway. Squirrels are not good teachers, so that’s helpful. When one solves such a problem, there is not skill-sharing with their nest mates, so everyone doesn’t learn to do it.
They’ve also solved every now and then the suet feeder, the peanut and sunflower feeder with the squirrel baffle around it (leaping from the ground to the bench to the feeder awkwardly to the pole and then back more comfortably to the feeder), and the feeder meant to close when weight hits the bar. But those are always temporary problems, since the squirrels aren’t all learning, and the one who knows will get bored and wander away in a week or two. By the time he’s back, he’s forgotten.
Squirrels are too greedy for me – they don’t share well – so every now and then I open the backdoor and rattle it around so they all run away, thus giving the rest of the bird and animal family a chance. The squirrels usually disappear into the deeper woods around 10 a m – maybe they don’t like the direct sun, maybe they’re just done with breakfast. So if I’m here, I put other food out at the time.
I’ve never managed to learn squirrel semaphore – but clearly they have great control over those tails, and each little twitch means something. They all get it – whether it’s hawk, danger, ‘special food on the patio’ or ‘I’m just in a grumpy mood this morning’.
And they’ve obviously kept me busy over the years!