Battle of the minds

We have a battle going on at my house. My husband seems to be thinking of ways to outsmart the neighborhood squirrels. I suspect that this is going to be fun to watch, because the squirrels have been hit and run experts for many years, and are not intimidated by the opening of the back door.

My sister gave us birdseed bells, suet, and a suet hanger for Christmas. I thought it was a splendid gift. I still do, actually, and so do the squirrels. I was concerned about the squirrels carrying the bell off, so we were careful about strapping it to the tree. I thought it might last part of a week, so that the birds might have a chance at it. It was gone in less than a day!

I could hear the gears turning in my husband’s brain as he thought about this problem. I came into the kitchen the next morning to find one of my pastry brushes sitting in the sink, with ORANGE bristles!
Sitting to the side of the sink was the other birdseed bell, with orange blobs and streaks over the surface. I don’t know exactly what he had painted on the bell, but I suspect it was something that would sear a squirrel’s mouth. I wondered if we were going to have to set a bowl of milk out on the patio to provide relief.

So, yesterday morning, after the surface had dried a bit, Dear Husband hung the second bell in the tree outside the kitchen window. There was a testing of the bounty, and then a pause for a couple of hours to regroup, while just the birds had a chance at it. Then, one of the squirrels came back to try eating from the bottom up. How did that sneaky little devil figure out that the bottom side of the bell was safe? DH says he should have hung the bell and THEN painted it!

While all this was going on, the squirrels had been ignoring the suet feeder, for the most part. When they couldn’t eat the bell, they changed their focus to the suet feeder. It’s two-sided, so it can hold two of the suet cakes at a time. I looked over later in the morning to see that both doors hung ajar and there was no suet to be seen!

Okay, so now Dear Husband is thinking about ways to lock the suet holder shut that will allow us to refill the boxes, but keep the squirrels out. And, he’s thinking about ways to paint the birdseed bells more successfully. AND, he realizes that he has to hang these things farther out on the branches so that the squirrels can’t reach them.

This situation is very different from our previous home where baffles and placement of poles was all that was called for. Someone has been training these squirrels, and it’s going to take some planning to outwit them. Scary thought isn’t it?