Squirrel and bird buffet

January 19, 2014 • 3:53 pm

Believe me, it costs more than tuppence a bag! (Those are pecans in the front, at $3.69 per small sack!) It’s not easy being both a Squirrel God and a Bird God. The squirrels, however, are in tip-top condition, though the birds are skittish and I rarely get to see them close up.

Squirrel food

29 thoughts on “Squirrel and bird buffet

    1. The sign is a note from the squirrels, who intend to commandeer all the firewood if not fed. (Not a very good plan, but they’re just squirrels after all.)

    2. “No Flammables” reminds me of the time I found that someone at work had put the bottle of fire retardant in the flammables safe…

  1. You need to buy your seeds in bulk. You’ll need a couple more jobs to support your squirrels otherwise!

    1. Everything in the jars was bought in bulk, including a 40-lb bag of black oil sunflower seeds (sciurid favorite!). Only the small bags of bigger sunflower seeds and the pecans can’t be bought in bulk, but those are special treats.

      1. Squirrels sure love sunflower seeds! I have a good friend on Saltspring Island, where the introduced gray squirrels have not yet spread and the native Douglas squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) still thrives. The squirrels in his little patch of forest will raid his bird feeder for sunflower seed, so he puts that treat out on the railing of his deck as well as in the feeder. If the squirrels arrive and find no sunflower seed waiting, they’ll fuss and chatter until he puts some out.

        This is noteworthy because the Vancouver Island race of the Douglas squirrel is very shy, unlike most squirrels. In spite of living here for over forty years, I’ve only seen one in the wild three times, not counting the ones on my friend’s deck railing.

        My friend thinks the adults bring the young ones around to teach them the tricks of raiding bird feeders and also “here’s a place with good, plentiful noms.”

        He too buys his black oil sunflower seeds in enormous bags.

  2. Feeding the critters is humane, rewarding and expensive. I can not believe the volume of seed my birds eat.

    200 years ago western man wouldn’t feed a fellow. The expansion of empathy is not the result of religion, but quite the reverse. Ideology is a dehumanizing force.

    1. The birds eat like horses in the colder weather. My squirrels haven’t been around. I assume they are keeping warm in their squirrel nests in the woods. I hope they’ve managed to avoid the coyotes (which I hear at night). I do have two bunnies in my yard though & they probably love it because coyotes can’t/won’t jump my fence. It’s amusing to see my dog go out in the dark & when she’s looking the other way, a bunny will go hoping behind her & under the fence.

  3. Well, I buy sunflower seeds in 100 lb lots and suet cakes in boxes of 12. So your neat display seems quite modest. I must get some in the shell peanuts….

  4. These recent posts on corvids and feeding squirrels reminds me of the ecology of my yard. I’ve planted mostly California native perennials and mulched the yard with redwood bark. The neighbor behind me used to try to feed the birds with seeds, but since the squirrels were eating most of it anyway, he gave in and just started putting out nuts instead. He also has a traditional turf yard and a young active d*g—neither of which the squirrels like. So the squirrels bring their loot over and bury it in my yard instead of his. At first this annoyed me, but now I like it. The magpies have figured out that there are nuts to be had although they don’t know how they got there and just randomly dig around until they find something. The crows are more efficient and pay attention to the squirrels. I’ve watched a squirrel come over with a nut and bury it in the bark while a crow patently waits in a tree. As soon as the squirrel goes back over the fence, the crow flies down, plucks out the nut, and flies back up into the tree before the squirrel arrives with the next nut.

  5. I think our host qualifies for the Connie Johnson Award for 2014. Connie was my 6th grade teacher, who fed her goldfinches thistle seeds imported from Turkey, at the mountaintop redoubt she retired to.

    I just feed the woodpeckers via three feeders, with suet that I get free at Bell’s Market, via David the meatcutter (@2:48). The word is out and I get many customers. All seem quite satisfied.

    1. Yes, the woodpeckers here enjoy suet from the meat counter at the local grocery store. I had to go find it today when a downy was confused and looking for it. In the high winds, it was under the deck.

  6. We’ll as far as gods go, jerry, I’d say you have a few lessons to learn. I mean, Yahweh gets all sorts of sacrifices, why don’t you make those squirrels bring *you* nuts?
    Although if you’re attempting to start a new precedent for gods/goddees I’d say you’re doing a fine job!

  7. Here in Switzerland we can buy huge bags of seeds for birds, different bags of different seeds for different species of birds, as well as suet balls filled with sunflower seeds for those birds who need fat, in nets, to be hanged. Raw peanuts are also popular. Birds also need water, even in the winter, to be changed daily and the recipient to be washed daily.

    1. Vierotchka, here in the States the mark up for a few ears of field corn takes them to about $1! Or you could find a farmer who would sell a bushel for a couple of $.

      “whatever the market will bear.”

  8. I see big (50lb?)sacks of deer corn for sale all around here in Texas. I’ve never checked what a sack costs. No doubt squirrels and some birds would enjoy it as well.

  9. We feed birds too – no problem.
    We have chickadees, cross-beaks, magpies, raven, stellar jay, whiskey jay…the lot. In summer we see all kinds of raptors circling overhead, including bald eagles.

    What I have a problem with is feeding squirrels. I live in 75 acres, mostly forested/bush land. Squirrels are nothing but a pest, raiding the bird feeders, getting into every nook and cranny of outbuildings, storing their food there, inviting insects to share, destroying insulation, wires, coverings – you name it.

    A squirrel entering my yard is a dead squirrel.

    1. Thank you for telling us about the alacrity with which you kill squirrels. But I hope you’re not implying that I kill mine, because I like them, and they do no harm. It is a bit disturbing to me, in fact, to see the joy with which you take the lives of these animals. To me it should always be done with sorrow, for they are living creatures behaving as evolution has endowed them. I never rejoiced in killing anything, even flies (which I always anesthetized before I killed).

    2. I live on about 10 acres and the squirrels don’t really cause any issue. Yeah, they eat the seeds but so do the chipmunks and that’s okay by me as long as they don’t break anything (I’ve gotten more robust feeders so they won’t plus there are plenty of seeds on the ground to eat).

      I haven’t seen them all winter. I guess they are holed up in the woods, having scooped up enough of my seeds to keep them full all winter.

  10. Deer corn 50 lb sacks staked outside the filling station were I filled up my wife’s car were $8.89 each.

  11. I buy 15 kilo bags of dried dog food. I soak a couple of kilos each night and the next day the seagulls and crows feast on it. Lasts about 2 minutes.

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