My Kindergarten Class
Since I moved into my home nine years ago, I’ve had squirrels. My property backs up to a wooded area that borders several properties so I’ve had my fair share. When I started birding seven years ago I decided that I would feed them as well. Since I employ a raccoon baffle on my main feeder station and squirrel baffles on my bluebird houses, I wasn’t concerned about my back yard becoming overly popular. I have a corncob feeder andon my back fence and a hanging from one of my smaller trees. There was an initial learning curve for them to learn and trust these feeders but with a mixture of adults and children back there the knowledge was acquired. Whether it took an adult to learn and show a little one or the little ones just happened on it by being nosey, it did happen.
This is no longer the case.
I’ve noticed this spring that most of the adults I’ve come to recognize are no longer in my back yard. I don’t know if the older ones died, were killed by cars, or moved on to another area but there is a definite lack of adult supervision. I pretty much have pre-schoolers and at most junior high level squirrels back there. My squirrel box has not been eaten from in months. The other feeders seem to be getting used.
What I’ve Tried With My Squirrel Box
I’ve unsnapped it from the fence and put it on the ground. The squirrels go in it and get food to their heart’s desire. When I put it back up, they stop trying.
I’ve refused to put food on the other feeders and stopped tossing even occasional peanuts on my patio. They’ve dug up every nut and piece of food they can remember where they buried and leave the box alone.
I did the above and changed the squirrel box food from the normal squirrel mix to nothing but hulled peanuts. They sniffed the hell out of it but did not try to go in.
As you can tell, I’m a little miffed because the last thing I have ever expected to have to do is train squirrels to use my feeders.
Have You Had This Problem?
Do you have any suggestions that I might try to get them to start using the squirrel box? My main reason is if they’re not using it they are wandering around looking for stuff to eat where they shouldn’t be. I’ve had no problems ever feeding my birds with squirrels in my back yard but my mourning doves are getting pissed at me and my goldfinches, titmice and chickadees are tired of waiting until late afternoon for me to put my sunflower chip chickadee window feeder up. I know I can change to safflower for the patio but I’ve enjoyed the wider assortment of birds the no mess patio mix brings.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think I should do and I’ll let you know if I have any progress.