My dad is a bird feeding enthusiast. His back deck area feeds the most beautiful birds! He has feeders with tiny grains for the gold finches. A larger feeder with suet for the many woodpeckers hangs from a tree. Another feeder with larger seeds is for other birds. There is sugar water for hummingbirds. My dad cuts oranges in half for the orioles who come to feed on the juice and pulp. Grape jelly is in another container for the orioles. Robins have a sweet tooth as well and enjoy the grape jelly. It’s a colorful flock of birds at all times of day. Then there are the squirrels.
My dad hates squirrels. He says they’re rodents and can find food elsewhere. I think they’re fun to watch but he dislikes how they feed on the bird seeds and make the birds fly away. He’s been trying to find ways to make his bird feeders rodent free, and was stumped until earlier this year. Someone suggested he get a Slinky and put it around the pole up to the bird feeder to repel the squirrels. He was intrigued and wanted to try it.
My sister, Dawn, was visiting that weekend. Dawn and nephew Sawyer searched the stores in the area for a Slinky, with no luck. Amazing how something that you almost always see around can suddenly disappear when you want one! Dawn texted me and suggested I look in my town to find one, since I’d be visiting him in a few weeks. My P.S. looked in every store he could think of and only found one store that carried them. Alas, the boxes were empty and they were out of stock.
I tried several more stores before we gave up. Then just after we did, my P.S. found them in a store on his bread route, in a small town in the middle of nowhere! He bought two Slinkies, just to make sure we had a backup. We were ready to test out this rodent repelling idea.
My dad took the pole and slid the Slinky around it, fastened it with a piece of string and replaced the bird feeder on top. Then he watched for several days, to see how the squirrels would deal with the Slinky. Through his breakfast room he has lovely windows and can watch all of the birds come and go. He watched the squirrels and they wouldn’t go anywhere near the pole! They did approach the deck but sat and looked and never touched the bird feeder pole again. Never.
As we laugh over what a simple solution this was to finally deter the squirrels from eating bird food, we are also puzzled. Do squirrels somehow have a grapevine where they share info, and they all are aware that they cannot climb up a Slinky to get bird food? They aren’t even trying, and that is a mystery. In squirrel-ese do they tell each other not to even try, they will be sorry and be injured?
We’ll probably never know just how the squirrels knew not to touch the Slinky. But their absence has increased the amount of bird traffic on the feeders, and that’s a good thing. Dad is happy!
More recently when I was visiting we happened to be looking out at the feeders when along came a little chipmunk. He jumped and took a ride back down the Slinky! We laughed and laughed. The chipmunk ran away, disappointed. Perhaps it, too, will tell its buddies not to check out my dad’s bird feeders!