Monday, 19 April 2010


Have you ever wondered what the Great Redeemer was on when he invented squirrels? How can something so small and fluffy be, at the same time, so cute and yet so aggravating?Anyone who has read the famous squirrel story in one of Dan Meyer's 'Life Is A Road' books will know exactly what I'm getting at.
Where I work, we have squirrels. Lots of squirrels. Mind, the building is in the middle of a nature reserve. Now, I'm not saying they eat anything, but, they eat everything.
We have a small glade where we have several bird feeders. We fill these daily with peanuts, seeds, fat compounds etc. for the delictation of our pretty little feathered friends. Except that the squiggles eat the lot.
We've tried everything to defeat them. Yes, I know you can flavour the bird food with stuff like paprika, which the birds don't mind, but the squiggles hate, but that's not the point. It has now become a battle of wills between us and them.
The first bird feeders were wire mesh. The squiggles demolished them in about 24 hours. Next, we bought one which was basically a long tubular steel cage with a ceramic top and bottom. The whole contraption was held together by a long steel rod passing through the top and bottom caps, held on with a wing nut underneath.
We kept finding this in pieces all over the ground. Then one day, we caught Squiggle hanging upside down, carefully undoing the wing nut with his paws. I swear he laughed with glee when, yet again, it all fell apart.
So, we removed the wing nut and put a locking nut in its' place. Did it work? Did it hell! I swear he broke into one of the cars and got himself a spanner, because next day it was in bits all over the floor again.
Then we saw an advert for 'squirrel-proof' bird feeders. Well, we bought a pair, one for seed and one for peanuts. Squirrel-proof my a*se! The peanut feeder consisted of a long thin mesh tube for the peanuts, surrounded by a metal cage with gaps big enough to let small birds through, but too small for fat squirrels. Now the answer to this is evidently to get the smallest squiggle you can find to ease his head through the gap and gnaw a huge hole in the peanut tube. You then get a bigger squiggle to sit on top of it and shake it till all the peanuts fall out. You then repeat the entire process with the seed feeder.
Meanwhile, the glade is also the only place on site where folk can smoke, and there's a small shelter with a huge ashtray in it. This ashtray consists of a robust, thick plastic cylinder, around 3 foot tall, with a heavy chromium steel ash tray on top. We found that the base, being empty, was the ideal place to store the bags of peanuts and seed, which we've been buying in bulk because it's cheaper that way.There's no way the squiggles can break into it, because the cylinder is too smooth and round for them to get a purchase on, and the top section is too heavy for them to lift.
Hmmmm..................... why has the cylinder now got a huge hole in the side, and where have all the nuts and seed gone? How the hell........?
We've long given up with the conventional bird feeders which hold fat balls. The balls never lasted more than a few hours. Then last week, I saw a huge plastic tub fat/seed mixture. This thing is around 6" diameter, about 4" deep, and can be suspended from a convenient tree branch by a robust plastic strap. Far too big and heavy for a squiggle to steal.
Where the hell is it? Sure, the plastic strap is still there - in pieces, on the ground, with multiple squiggle teeth marks. Of the tub, there's no sign.
When I get some time, remind me to tell you about the incident of the squiggle and the cheese sandwich....................

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