Squirrels – 4; Greg – 0

by Greg on April 15, 2011

The title of this post was supposed to be “Squirrels – 3; Greg – Won!” after a battle of wits over bird seed. But this morning, I awoke to see a squirrel perched atop my bird feeder blissfully turbo-chewing my sunflower chips.

Let me tell you this. “Squirrel-Proof,” as it relates to bird feeders, is a myth. It’s also one of the most egregious violations of Truth in Advertising laws since “Free Wooden Horse. Will Deliver.”

Anything touted as “Squirrel Resistant” or “Squirrel Proof” should be required to have an asterisk on the packaging that reads, “For up to 10 minutes.”

Naively thinking that squirrels were only capable of climbing trees or tactile poles, I purchased a thin and slippery wrought-iron pole that could hold two bird feeders and a brick of suet. Confident that there was no way a squirrel could shimmy up this pole, I later watched a squirrel effortlessly shimmy up this pole.

Squirrels – 1; Greg – 0.

He was kind of like Spider-Man if Spider-Man had fur, a big bushy tail, and fat cheeks. He went from ground to suet cage in under three seconds and proceeded to chisel away at the suet through squirrel-resistant grates with cunning precision.

He ate my entire brick of suet in six hours.

Squirrels – 2; Greg – 0.

Even though he devoured my suet, he left my bird seed alone as expected. For additional squirrel defense I had paid a premium for two “Squirrel-Proof” bird feeders designed to deny access when anything heavier than a bird climbed aboard.

The way it works is simple. Birds are notoriously light because they’re full of feathers. Squirrels are notoriously heavy because they’re full of pillaged bird seed. Because the windows of this bird feeder are spring loaded, any weight (such as that from vermin) causes the bird feeder to slide down and close off each of the openings, thereby preventing the heist.

I thought it was an ingenious design until my wife gleefully led me into the kitchen to show me this:

I think he's saying, "You showed me your nuts, now I'll show you mine."

Squirrels – 3; Greg – 0.

I couldn’t figure out how he did it and it felt lousy being bested by a squirrel without knowing how. It wasn’t until we caught him in the act on video that I was able to solve the crime.

He would climb up my slippery squirrel-resistant pole, use my squirrel-resistant suet cage as a brace, stick his paw in the squirrel-resistant windows, and eat merrily from my squirrel-proof bird feeder.

I was told to tack a squirrel feeder on a nearby tree to create less competition at the bird feeder, which I did, but this only led to fatter squirrels. The premise is that you impale a corn cob on the ledge and the squirrels will no longer be interested in bird seed. It works great until the corn is gone (roughly 14 seconds), at which time they go right back to meddling with your bird feeder.

I had no idea that squirrels can eat 145 times their weight in a day but it’s a verified made up fact that squirrels only stop eating long enough to nest in attics, decompose in drywall, or chase each other into oncoming traffic.

Is there a market for corn-fed organic squirrels?

@Mentalbile and @Babypop recommended a bird feeder called the “Droll Yankees Squirrel Flipper,” and while it’s hilarious to watch, I can’t stomach the thought of spending $150 on a bird feeder. If I could sell squirrel pelts to raise the money, I’d consider it, but I was determined to not let the squirrels raid both my bird seed and my wallet.

I decided on a product I call the “Dreaded Dish of Doom”. Simple in design and with a price tag of only $12 it seemed like the perfect solution. Just bolt it onto the iron pole and watch the befuddled squirrels as they spin, flip, and lose their grip.

My ex squirrel-proof set up.

Well protected from squirrelbezzlement, I reveled in the fact that my bird seed levels didn’t plummet. I cackled maniacally as the squirrels flipped off my dish and looked hopelessly stumped. The birds returned and I turned to Twitter to brag. I was surprised to read that many of you thought I had killed the squirrels, but I assure you, I aim for a humane resolution whenever possible. Mainly because I’m a terrible shot.

Waking this morning with renewed spirit, I was set to write my “Squirrels – 3; Greg – Won!” post when Heather called out, “Uh, Greg, there’s a squirrel on your bird feeder.”

What the? How the? Why the?

All I wanted was a truce. I’d agree to keep them full of corn if they’d agree to stay out of my bird feeders. While great in theory, there’s no negotiating with someone hellbent on taking your nuts.

Just ask John Bobbitt.

As you can see in the photo below, he climbs up the pole, grabs the dish of doom, and swings his body like a pendulum until he latches onto the bird feeder, thus providing him with a forbidden buffet of premium bird seed.

Just look at him. Sitting there mocking me. Taunting me.

Squirrels – 4; Greg – 0.

But I think I’ve got him this time. For his genius has proven to be his flaw. If you look closely, you can see where I went wrong. The bird feeder simply hangs too low. I’ve now raised it so that the gap is too wide for the squirrel to bridge. They’ve already proven that they can’t balance on the dreaded dish of doom so I think channeling my inner-MacGyver has finally paid off.

Today is a happy day. For today, I have outsquirreled the squirrels. As the saying goes, fifth time’s the charm.

Squirrels - 4; Greg - Won!

I’ve decided that if the squirrels do manage to get to my bird seed this time, then heck, they’ve earned it. They can eat all they want. In fact, creating a backyard full of fatty squirrels might actually turn out to be my best defense. If I can get them loaded up on fat and carbs then perhaps they’ll be too heavy to pull themselves up the pole.

Some things are worth the cost. So…

Eat up, chubs.

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The Problem With Guys
May 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm


Melinda April 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hilarious!!! I think you did win in the end. The closest I came was a feeder than was squirrel proof 80% of the time but it turns out it wasn’t teenage boy proof and he busted the glass. Squirrels are so clever. Corn gone in 14 sec!! Lol!!

Lesley April 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

LMAO!!!! I love love LOVE the pictures you’ve taken! But let me ask you this: Why feed the birds? I mean, here when it snowed 30 ft the winter before last, I too fed the birds by flinging birdseed on the snow. They were very happy, as were my cats because they got to sit and watch them! But also, did you know that all the birds in the world wish to EAT ME!? They hate me. They dive bomb me and make fun of my cats. But then again, there is a squirrel that teases them as well. But I have never in my life seen squirrels fight…but those birds! They are SO MEAN. So my question again: Why feed the birds?

And I love this post btw. You should put up your movie that you took of them. You should also name them. Is there only one? I’d name him: GITUKU: African Kikuyu name meaning “notoriously shady and sly.”

~the south dakota cowgirl~ April 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

OMG. Hilarious. Here where I live in SD we don’t have any trees so we have no squirrels. But if they get by this set up- I’d go with a taller pole and the dish of doom. You’ll have to keep us posted.

Mary April 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I visited the local botanical garden last week and this is exactly what my girls and I marveled at for a good 10 minutes. It was hilarious. Pictures are forthcoming on the blog. Those stinkers are good.

Susan Stahlin April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

If you want them to really work for it, just smear the pole with petroleum jelly. Then video them and laugh until you cry. It’s hilarious and they can’t get up the pole until all the grease is gone.

karen April 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Somehow, I doubt this is the end of it.

BenSpark April 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

I think you need to remove the suet cage. You’re gonna see a squirrel getting up to that too.

Andrew Reese April 16, 2011 at 10:17 am

Youtube “squirrel mission impossible” (can you verb youtube like google?). It’s the 50 second clip.

Jennifer April 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

This reminds me of my husband’s ongoing battle with the ant army that invades our house each spring. He sprayed the perimeter of the house and each step leading to the front door last weekend and labeled it the “Lane of Death”. It worked really well…at keeping the ants inside the house.

Rob April 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

LOL. Squirrels are smart little things aren’t they. My grandfather has this same problem and bought one of those trash can lids. LOL. Not sure if he defeated the squirrel or not. The squirrel may have won the battle but it looks like you may have won the war. I hope! Good Look and god speed!

@babypop April 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Oh I love your post how you dealt with the tree rats. I get such a visual.. of your world what a fun chuckle @MentalBile and I have had reading your post… I read he grunted and giggled. Because we have been there.. hence our purchase of the price bird feeder that is quite effective.

In full disclosure @Mentalbile bought me the squirrel chuck-er as a gift because, I was getting upset when he wanted to go with more of a “country ways” of dealing with squirrels. I am a suburb girl and we deal with squirrels in a more civilized manner, we suburb chicks buy expensive bird feeders that deal with the buggers. I never new it cost that much and there will be a discussion tonight with him about what is the appropriate price of a bird feeder.

Love the post!!

SassyO April 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

I have been reading your blog for a while now, but this post is the funniest one yet. Mostly because I have the exact same problem with bizarrely intelligent (or rather, amazingly resourceful) squirrels. Same feeders, baffles – everything. Not to mention a 7-year old son who opens the door and hollers at them (to which they have become serenely immune…)

Best of luck, sir, in your continuing endeavors.

MrsTellingDad April 20, 2011 at 6:45 am

Squirrels 5 – Greg 0

Annie @ Mama Dweeb April 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

oh my husband is going to love this post! Squirrels are our inside joke. We love laughing at them and ridiculing them. Such silly creatures and so much fun!

I do hope you have bested the squirrels Greg! I have to admit I am shocked it learned how to swing onto the bird feeder from below the dish. I had no idea squirrels were that smart. How big is their brain anyways? WOW

Lori April 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm

We learned the hard way that a “squirrel baffle” is at best a “squirrel warm-up brain-teaser.”

Also, I believe that a here-to-fore unrecognized breed of Mensa-squirrel is slowly infiltrating most species.

Cindi @ Moomettes Magnificents April 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Hmm – All I envisioned while reading this post was the Donner Pass situation, but with a rental truck instead of a Conestoga Wagon. Only the snow was missing. Glad you made it out OK. Lots of pictures of stone walls on my blog (luv them!) but what you need is a Yankee Flipper Birdfeeder ( I have one, use my AZ affiliate link LOL)! Good Luck!

Cindi @ Moomettes Magnificents April 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Somehow Donner Pass ended up on this post when I thought I was commenting on the rock one!

Amanda April 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

Hey, don’t know if anyone has brought this up but put cayenne pepper in your birdseed. The birds can’t taste it but the squirrels HATE it.

Jen May 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Here’s a thought: just rename your birdfeeder.
Instead of calling it “birdfeeder,” call it “squirrelfeeder.” Problem solved.

Rebecca May 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm

This is my first visit to your blog and I’m already engrossed in your battle with the squirrels. Although like you say, if they get to the food now they deserve it.

RE bird feeders: my parents have problems not only with fat chubster squirrels, but also bigger birds like magpies who nick all the food and/or kill every other bird in the vicinity of the garden. They brought a ground feeder like this one: http://www.crocus.co.uk/product/_/outdoor/birds-wildlife/sanctuary-for-ground-feeding-birds/classid.2000008347/ Not sure if anyone else has suggested a product like this, but it’s great because it’s a mesh cage that sits over a ground feed table and is pegged to the ground, and the size of the gaps can be re-sized to allow smaller birds in, and to keep cats/killer birds/fat squirrels out. If you can find one like this it might do the trick.

Sandra May 31, 2011 at 9:14 pm

That’s Hilarious! i like your pictures, funny! And I love this post by the way.

Lynne August 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

I hate to tell you this, but you have the squirrel baffle (“dish of doom”) upside down. That’s how he was able to hold onto it and climb. I have battled squirrels for several years since I’ve lived in wooded areas. If you can place your feeders where the bottom is a minimum of 6′ off the ground and 10′ away from anywhere they can use as a platform to jump, you’ll be in good shape.

Lisa September 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

ok, I’ve now read all the posts from today, back to this one. While my husband has been glued to the tv, playing ps3. It was worth it, though, you are hilarious and this might be your funniest post yet. Though I did enjoy the one about your son’s screamo music. I’m only 10 years his senior and don’t get that “music”, either. Basically: keep up the good work, it might support me until my husband has gotten sick of “demon souls” 🙂

Johanna March 13, 2012 at 2:11 am

Looks like the squirrel is warming its nuts on the ground xD

Jessica March 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

This blog is catching my attention. I have great time viewing this. I will be following your blog.

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