Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Return of the Prodigal Bird Feeder

The bird feeder that I bought earlier this year as a guaranteed squirrel-stumper has hung empty for several months. I had no interest in converting the deck into a squirrel spa. Every now and then, a sad sparrow or chickadee would stop by and frantically check the empty bird feeder, flying away in disappointment. The cardinals disdained this feeder, being unable to perch and eat in comfort on the wiry mesh surrounding the feeding port.The only regular attendees would stop by to drink some rain water from the bird bath and refresh themselves with the occasional ablution.
As I stopped by the Home Depot for yet another dozen leaf bags, I caught sight of a bird feeder with standard perches and a sort of small seed platform at the base. This was in metal, with a copper major problem with the earlier feeders of this type had been that the squirrel would lean on the perch, and eventually rip out the plastic perch, causing a large hole in the feeder that made it useless. Maybe this would do the trick. At about $20, it was four times the price of the ordinary plastic ones, but could possibly withstand the squirrel leaning on it with all her might.
The now-refilled feeder sat outside untouched for about 2 days, looking disappointingly full.
Yesterday, finally, I saw a chickadee perch on it for a few bites, then moving to a nearby branch and singing out 'Food's here, chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!" for five minutes before flying away.
A little later, a female cardinal perched on the lower platform comfortably, picking away at the seeds. A couple of sparrows watched, sitting on the deck railing, as they waited for a turn.
The next day, the squirrel was back, leaning on the platform, carefully picking what she wanted off it, from the spilled out seeds. She paid no attention to the faces and noises I made behind the window, leisurely ate a few sunflower and cracked corn seeds, sipped some rainwater and took off into the yard.
Today is day 4, and the bird feeder still looks about 2/3 full. I'm hopeful that this one will survive the squirrels and get through more than a few winters, at this rate.

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