OK, so it’s old news that I like to feed birds and that I have been on a decades-long quest to find a squirrel-proof bird feeder.
My venture into the world of watching little feathered friends merrily feasting on sunflower and millet seeds unmolested by squirrels is well-known. It’s practically me to need psychiatric counseling. I know, squirrels have to eat too, but there are acorns and hickory nuts and other stuff they can nibble on. That’s not the primary fact that drives my obsession to keep bushy-tails off my feeders. It’s that I am determined that a little furry critter with a brain the size of an overcup acorn is not going to outsmart me.
I’ve shared with you in the past about my attempts to be declared the victor over squirrels. I’ve greased poles and watched them slide down the pole until all the grease was gone; I’ve installed do-hickies and ding-fods of all kinds to beat ‘em. I really thought (foolish me) that my last attempt was the one that would work; I purchased what were billed as “squirrel proof” baffles and hung them over feeders to keep squirrels at bay.
For awhile, they worked but you could almost see those little brains clicking. In fact, as I look out my window now, there’s a squirrel sitting on a feeder that the baffle didn’t baffle one bit. The smirk on its face reminds me of the one I saw on Nick Saban’s mug Monday night as he held aloft the crystal football. Again.
While attending the annual conference of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association a few months ago in Johnson City, Tenn., I spotted something that caught my eye. There was a company in attendance that markets a squirrel proof bird feeder. Sure, I thought; I’ve heard that spiel before. After listening to the pitch from David Baynard, the company representative, I was sold and I had to have one. The Father Nature squirrel feeder has been installed in my back yard for several weeks without a single squirrel figuring out how to beat it.
Information that accompanied my new feeder makes some pretty bold claims. “Father Nature squirrel baffle will protect feeder from even the most determined squirrels…If the feeder is placed at least 8 feet from overhanging trees or buildings, squirrels cannot jump to the feeder from above and they can’t climb the feeder from the ground.” The motto is what sold me on this feeder. “Bird friendly; people friendly; squirrels…sorry!”
Here’s why the Father Nature feeder works. It’s all steel construction, which means that if a squirrel should sprout wings and fly to it, he can’t harm it. There is a baked-on enamel finish with a top that overhangs the food ports to keep the seed dry.
The pole onto which the feeder is mounted is a steel rod that goes into the ground, placing the feeder within eye level but high enough to discourage a squirrel leaping from the ground. The kicker, though, is a baffle that is similar to a length of stove pipe that loosely surrounds the rod a foot or so beneath the feeder. A squirrel may scoot up the rod but when he encounters the baffle, that’s as high as he can go, insuring that your cardinals, goldfinches and juncos feed peacefully without furry interference.
One thing I was impressed with was the ease in putting the feeder together and setting it up for the birds, a process that took about a minute. If you want to keep squirrels off your bird feeders, you might want to check this wonderful invention out. Go to www.fathernature.org and see what you think. You can also call the company, based in South Carolina, at 1-803-473-4927. They’re pricey at just under $200, but in time, you’ll pay that much and more for wasted bird seed….and psychiatric counseling.
If this feeder works like I’m convinced it will and there will be no more squirrels stealing my birdseed, I’ll have to find other issues to unload on my counselor.