The Pesky Squirrel
A True Story by Uncle David
for Sam and Jake


Last fall I bought two new bird feeders. I decided to hang them on a pole similar to one at Grandpa Hank's and Grandma D's house.

So, I went to one of Grandpa's sheds to get some pieces of metal water pipe. I got one long piece, 2 medium pieces, one short piece bigger in diameter than the other pieces, and several pipe fittings.

Then, I dug a hole with our post-hole digger and buried the short piece of pipe. Next, I screwed a tee connector onto one end of the long piece of pipe. When it was tight, I screwed one end of a medium piece of pipe to one of the remaining ends of the tee. Finally, I screwed an end of the other medium piece of pipe to the last end of the tee; screwed metal elbows on the ends of the medium pieces of pipe; put the free end of the long piece of pipe in the pipe I'd buried in the ground; and hung a bird feeder on each arm of the big T I now had in my yard.

My new feeding station was finished. Since it was made of metal, it wouldn't rot; the metal elbows would keep the feeders from being blown off the arms in a wind; and I thought the main metal pole would be hard for squirrels to climb. After all these were bird feeders!

Several days after I put the feeder up, I looked out my window and saw a squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I said. ``Get out of the bird feeder.'' And I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

``I'll have to put a squirrel guard on the pole,'' I thought. So, I got a piece of copper and drilled a hole in the middle of it and cut a small wedge out of it and put it around the pole.

``Ha!'' I thought. ``I bet you can't get into the feeders now.''

The next morning I looked out the window and there was the squirrel - on the ground looking up at the feeders. It would go up the pole until it came to the piece of copper and then stop. The squirrel guard worked. For several months I'd see the squirrel eating seed on the ground, and looking up at the feeders, and occasionally trying to get up the pole. But, it could not get past the guard to one of the feeders.

Until one morning, when I looked out my window and saw the squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I said. ``Get out of the bird feeder.'' And I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

``How did that squirrel get into the feeder,'' I wondered. So, I watched out the window, and after a bit the squirrel came back. It stood on the ground by the pole and seemed to measure with its eyes from where it stood to the pole. And then, it jumped up over the squirrel guard onto the pole. Then, it easily hopped onto one of the feeders and started a little snack. Once again, I had to run down my stairs and out the front door and chase the squirrel away.

``I'll fix you,'' I thought. So, I adjusted the squirrel guard and put it higher up the pole.

When the squirrel came back, it stood on the ground by the pole and measured with its eyes. Then, it ran up the pole to where the squirrel guard was and turned and ran back down and stood and measured with its eyes.

I could imagine it thinking, ``How did that happen?''

For several days the squirrel would come and eat the seed on the ground. Sometimes it would stand and measure with its eyes the distance from where it stood on the ground to the pole above the squirrel guard. But it didn't jump up or try to climb the pole.

``Well,'' I thought, ``I've got you now.''

A few days later I looked out my window and there was that squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I said. ``Get out of the bird feeder.'' And I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

``How did the squirrel manage that?'' I wondered. So, I watched out my window and after a bit the squirrel came back. It ran up the pole and then began to climb around the squirrel guard. It was almost around when it fell off the guard onto the ground. But it jumped up, ran back up the pole, and began working to get around the guard. Soon it did, and it hopped onto one of the feeders and started to have a little snack.

So, I had to run down my stairs and out the front door and chase the squirrel away.

For several days I watched that squirrel. It didn't take long for the squirrel to learn how to run up the pole and climb around the guard without falling. Clearly, the squirrel guard by itself would no longer keep the squirrel out of the bird feeders.

Now, I was getting mad.

So, I went to one of Grand Pa Hank's sheds and got a piece of chicken wire like we use to keep critters out of the garden. I started by just wrapping the wire around the pole thinking it might keep the squirrel away. Later that morning the squirrel came and looked at the pole and at the wire and went away.

But, the next morning when I looked out my window there was that squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I said. ``Get out of the bird feeder.'' And I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

The fence was knocked against the pole. Later that morning the squirrel came and ran up the side of the fence leaning against the pole; climbed up the pole and around the squirrel guard; hopped onto the feeder; and started its snack. Once again I had to run out and chase the squirrel away.

So, I moved the chicken wire. Instead of sitting it on the ground, I hooked it on the squirrel guard. Now the wire hung down from the guard and surrounded the pole.

Later that day the squirrel came and ran up the pole. But when it got to the squirrel guard, it could not climb around it because of the chicken wire.

``I've got you now,'' I thought.

Several times that day the squirrel came and ran up the pole. Each time it got stopped by the wire around the squirrel guard.

But, the next morning I looked out my window and saw the squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I said. ``Get out of the bird feeder.'' And I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

The wire fence had been pulled off the squirrel guard and was just wrapped around the pole. So, I attached it to the squirrel guard a little better than I did the first time.

But, the next morning I looked out my window and saw the squirrel sitting in one of the feeders eating bird seed.

Now, I was very mad.

``You pesky squirrel,'' I thought. ``I put up two nice new bird feeders, and you quickly learned how to climb up the pole and get into one of the feeders. Then, I put up a squirrel guard, and you learned to jump over it onto the pole. When I moved the guard higher, you learned how to climb around it. So, I put up a little fence, and you learned how to get over it. Finally, I moved the fence up, and you learned how to knock it down. Well, I've got another idea.''

I went out and took the bird feeders off the arms. Then, I took the arms off the top of the pole. Then, I opened up the chicken wire and slipped the main pipe of the feeder through one of the holes in the center of the wire. The wire slid down the pole until it reached the squirrel guard. Then I put the arms back on the pipe and put the feeders back on the arms. Finally, I got a stick and used it to hold the ends of the wire away from the pole. Now, I had a small squirrel guard made of copper and a very big guard made of chicken wire. When I was finished, I went back inside my house.

Pretty soon the squirrel came back to the feeder. It took one look and ran up the pole. When it got to the copper squirrel guard, it tried to climb around it. But the chicken wire was on top of the guard, and the squirrel soon fell off the guard onto the ground.

I had to laugh.

But the squirrel jumped up and ran back up the pole. Soon it was climbing on the wire trying to bite its way through it. It would move from one area to another. It had to hang upside down to move around the wire. Sometimes it would hold on with two feet and its mouth as it tried to bite a hole in the wire. Sometimes it would go back to the squirrel guard and try to climb around it. Sometimes it would fall off.

After awhile it went away.

Several times that day the squirrel returned and tried all the things that didn't work the first time: climb on top of the copper squirrel guard; climb all around the wire looking for a hole; bite a hole through the wire. Nothing worked, and each time the squirrel eventually gave up.

That was two days ago. Now, the squirrel hardly ever comes to the feeders. When it does, it just digs around on the ground looking for seeds that have fallen from the feeders.

Sometimes I wonder if, when the squirrel is just sitting up in a tree or sitting in its home or dreaming at night, it is trying to figure out a way to get around the chicken wire and reach the place where it can have an easy snack.

I know that, if I wake up some morning and look out the window and see that pesky squirrel in one of the feeders, I'll run down my stairs and out the front door and chase the squirrel away.

Then, I'll try and figure another way to keep it from getting in my bird feeders.


Addendum:

About six weeks after I wrote the above story, I looked out my window one morning and guess what? Yes! There was that pesky squirrel back in one of the feeders having a little snack. So, I ran down my stairs and out the front door and chased the squirrel away.

Then, I took the bird feeder completely apart and removed the wire squirrel guard; went to one of Grandpa Hank's sheds and found a larger piece of copper; made a larger squirrel guard from it; and put everything back together except this time the large squirrel guard was on top of the small squirrel guard.

And it worked. For the past two years the squirrels come; sit on the ground and look up at the bird feeders; run up the pole; and try to get around the squirrel guard. But they can't.

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© Copyright 1997, David Bausum. All Rights Reserved.