WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     Battle of the squirrels ...

    For many years I have put the feed bag out for our feathered friends, and to a lesser degree squirrels.

Of course if you are a bird feed supplier, you know that keeping squirrel s from raiding your feeders is a daunting task at the very least.

      I have several devices I use for feeding both birds

and squirrel s, some are so called squirrel proof? I suppose there are some high tech feeders out there that actually are squirrel proof, but I don t own one.     

      I think it would really be fun to create a reality show called Are you smarter than a squirrel? Perhaps I could get Jeff Foxworthy, or Larry the Cable guy to host it. People would send in their video showing how they out fox or fail to out fox these furry little critters. At the end of the program the studio audience would pick up their voting devices and determine the weekly winner of the submitted videos. Of course once a year they could have a playoff of all the weekly winners for a grand prize of, say 100 grand.    

     I do have a couple of feeders that are, I think, squirrel resistant, but certainly not squirrel proof! One of my feeders has a cage surrounding the feeder. It did not take long for my furry friends to find a way onto the feeder and reach through the one inch grid to plunder their booty. I like to think I am a bit of an inventor when itcomes to solving mundane problems. So I figured out the squirrel s could not reach the ports of the feeder.

     But they figured out when they cling to the feeder, feed falls out into the bottom of the feeder, making it easy for them to reach in and grab the spillage, ah ha I thought. I decided to attach a piece of metal screen on the outside of the bottom two inches of the cage. thinking what a smart boy am I NOT! The very next day I looked out and one of the fat little critters was hanging on and somehow eating like nothing has changed. After scolding and chasing the little critter off of the feeder I took it down and discovered he had chewed several holes in the bottom of the screen!

       Well it was back to the drawing board for me, this called for more drastic measures. Undaunted I took the feeder into my workshop and removed what was left of the screen. Then I replaced it with some quarter inch wire mesh. That ought to stop them I thought. Just a couple days later I spotted the fat little critter hanging on the feeder again! Somewhat astounded I took the empty feeder down and found the little critter had managed to somehow remove a couple of pieces of the wire near the bottom.

           Back to square one, I thought the only way to keep them from getting the feed was to find a way to

stop the flow of feed on the bottom ports. So I took the feeder apart and closed off all but a little bit of the bottom ports and patched the mesh. I have not seen them on the feeder since, but I would not be surprised to see them back any time. Will this solution work? I don t know, but I have another plan if this one doesn t work. I still have four days before this goes to press, so we will see how it works or if I have to go to plan F.     

        Another problem with that feeder is,  grackles also use the same tactic, but I don t think they are quite as smart as the squirrels because the wire meshseemed to do the trick with them.

Have a great week and do good!