Sunday, December 30, 2007


The eastern grey squirrels take any opportunity to ravage our bird feeder and suet cage, and send the desired avian visitors away in panic. I frequently glance out the back window, ready to spring to action. Early on, a single light rap on the glass would be enough to frighten off the rodents; they would seize up in terror and fall to the ground. They eventually learned to hang tight, that nothing worse was to follow. That 's when I started opening the back door to yell and/or growl at them. Because I can yell/growl convincingly, they would frantically scrabble away, from feeder to branch to fence, to someone else's yard. Then, a few days ago, they became immune to that too.

Hey hey. Wonder what he'll try next?

I started throwing things. Small stones. A stray tennis ball. The window squeegee. The goal was not to hit them -- just a strong sidearm to smack the tree or fence beneath them, to add a threat of physical impact to what up until then had been but bluster.

But the ball went missing, the squeegee broke, and the stones were a bit too dangerous. I needed something else to throw, something aerodynamic and with a bit of heft, but not something that might break a fence board or take out a window. Something biodegradable.

There was the answer, sitting on the kitchen counter.


A bowl of walnuts that has been ignored entirely this festive season. My in-laws, it appears, are on a walnut-free diet, and failed to partake of these omega 3-rich treats.

This AM: I burst from the door and let loose a barrage of walnuts (much like Will Ferrell throwing snowballs in Elf). I was aiming right at the invaders, smacking branches and fence posts all around them. They are probably still running.

But even as the walnuts flew, in the heat of battle a voice was nagging. Is it wise to throw at your foes things they would happily receive as gifts? Won't this just give them another reason to come back? Don't you want those omega 3-rich treats?

Short-term, success. Long-term, bad idea. War is always about trade-offs.

Well we appreciate it.


Cicero Sings said...

I am just SO familiar with squirrel wars ... both kinds (man vs squirrel; squirrel vs squirrel ... the latter war being VERY entertaining to watch!). Now I actually miss the little critters, since some fiercer foe picked them all off! But like you say, the birds are happy.

Yes, you should be eating those walnuts ... VERY good for you. We have a bowl of them by the back door as well ... ignored all through the holiday season ... I can't understand it!

A Local Naturalist said...

Do you have eastern grey squirrels that far north, or are they the little brown Douglas's squirrels? I wonder who's eating (ate) them.

I resolve to eat rather than throw walnuts. I'll throw brussels sprouts instead.

Happy New Year,