Thursday, June 17, 2010

Battle for the backyard birdfeeder

There's this squirrel and he is my nemesis. Actually, to borrow a phrase from my favorite 8-year-old, "He is my mortal enemy and I must defeat him." I know, the words sound quite harsh as I profess to be a tree hugging nature lover (when nature's not making me sneeze and wheeze). But it's true. This little, brown, furry creature who looks all innocent and sweet is the devil. And he hates me. Actually, it's more of a loathing, if I really think about it. And the feeling, I dare say, is mutual.

I know this all sounds rather nutty (and maybe even more than a bit trivial) but it's become an obsession of sorts. This squirrel is the leader of a Gainesville gardening terrorist group who must be taken down. There are eight in all - eight of the most incredibly creative little bandits who have ever taken over a backyard birdfeeder.

Here's the story in a proverbial nutshell: I set up a feeder in my yard so I could commune with nature (even though the construction workers are trying to pound it all away, but that's another blog). For the moment, I live on the edge of wooded bliss where birds of every kind flock to the feeder. They're so pretty. They bring me joy as I go about my day clicking out the words on my computer and keeping my homeschooled kid on task.

We co-habitated in harmony for weeks, if not several months. It was all so poetic. My husband would even come home at the end of the day and jokingly call me the blond-headed Snow White. (Hey, I've got the fair skin, so work with me here). Anyway, at first I thought the squirrels were absolutely adorable, all munching away on the yummy birdseed I purchased, enjoying what their feathered friends discarded onto the ground.

Then the critters got greedy. Actually, it was only one. Let's call him Sergeant Squirrel - Serg for short. So, Serg here decides he wants to get in on the action. He starts shinnying up the wrought iron feeder pole, hanging upside down and tossing out food for all his friends. Then they all get in on it until there's not one crumb of food or bird that will fight them for it.

I start getting defensive of my feathered friends. They can't fight for themselves, so I must fight for them. I buy what is called a "Squirrel be Gone" feeder. It works! I am so proud. Every time the grabby guy sits on the feeder it clamps closed. It doesn't hurt him, I assure you. Just pisses him off. I laugh. It's all so funny. Then Serg gets mad, real mad. He looks me straight in the eye as he hangs upside down bouncing on the feeder so long he springs it. Food flies everywhere. It's as if he's saying, "HA! What else ya got, lady?"

I will not be out done, so I buy ANOTHER Squirrel be Gone. Serg springs that one in less than 24 hours. Blasted bandit. Then, I have this epiphany. I'll grease up the pole. That'll fix Serg. I take my can of Crisco out there to the backyard and lube the feeder pole up good. Tee hee. I have a good laugh watching them slide down the pole like firefighters and my teen aged son shakes his head thinking his mother's lost her mind for good this time.

Serg accepts the challenge. He's going to find a way, I just know it. He has the will of a great warrior. Yesterday Serg even went so far as to waltz up to my backdoor, stare me down and taunt my cat Teddy.

Oh Serg, you're gonna be the death of me.

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