Monday, August 25, 2008


I decided a couple of months ago that I wanted a bird feeder for the back yard. Not that I particularly LIKE birds. I don't mind looking at them but I definitely mind them looking at me (it's the whole eyes on the side of the head thing!) And I definitely don't want them on me. I have seen many a tourist take pictures of themselves with a couple dozen birds (mainly pigeons) on them and they really think it's great. That would NEVER happen with me! Pigeons are rats with wings... just sayin'!

A couple of summers ago Kat and I went to Newport Aquarium and she MADE ME hold the nectar for the lorikeets. I was having a mild panic attack just knowing that the birds were flying around the room and could possibly land on me. To hold the nectar and INVITE them to land on me was a whole other situation! For some reason the birds liked me. I think they smelled fear (do birds smell?) There I was with a bird on my shoulder (and head at one point!) and one on my hand...

Don't I look like Snow White?

Don't be fooled. The smile on my face IS NOT pleasure or joy. While Kat was taking the photo I was muttering "get these fucking birds off of me!" Clearly you can see the folks in the background WANTING the birds to come to them. Look at that guy holding his cup in the air! Look at that girl next to him holding her cup. Why are the birds not on them, I ask?? There were children holding cups of nectar that were looking at me longingly wanting the birds to land on them. I really wanted no part of it. I just knew that the birds were going to poop on me. See what a good sport I am???

I'm not sure why, or at what point I decided to get a bird feeder. The first one I bought was a little fancy and didn't hold much bird seed. I eventually dropped it and it broke. I bought a second one that was a little more sturdy and the birds seemed to enjoy it. I like watching the birds from the window but feeding birds does come with a few problems. Those problems are called squirrels.

Back in the day when my sister and I went camping we always stored our food in Rubbermaid totes which we nicknamed "squirrel protectors" There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and seeing that your stuff has been gone through at the camp ground and all of your hot dog buns have been nibbled on. Lesson learned! Since purchasing and using the "squirrel protectors" while camping those little bastards have really not been a nuisance to me until I had the brilliant idea to start feeding the birds.

When I bought the first bird feeder I hung it on the fence but that was really quite convenient to the squirrels. I then purchased a shepherd hook hoping that the squirrels could not climb it. I should have known better. Justin and I would watch from the kitchen window and the squirrels would shimmy up that pole and bully the birds away. It was quite an acrobatic feat that those little bastards would do. They would hold on to the pole with their back feet and to the bird feeder with their front feet. Half of the seed would end up on the ground when they jumped off.

I thought that if I put a bowl of bird seed on the ground they would eat from there and would not bother the birds. That wasn't the case. For some reason they enjoyed the bird seed in the bird feeder more. I was tired of the squirrels eating all the food and I really didn't know what to do.

After hearing the saga of the squirrels many people offered advice. Some told me to set up a "squirrel station" with corn cobs and other tasty squirrel food. Others said I should get squirrel safe bird feeders where the weight of the squirrels makes the doors shut but I really didn't want anything that fancy. One day Justin came home and said that his co-worker told him that she puts Vaseline on her shepherd hook so the squirrels can't climb it. I think it's pretty funny that Justin had a conversation at work about my bird feeder/squirrel drama but I loved that fact that I now had this great tip! Why didn't I think of that?

So, one evening I Iubed up the shepherd hook with vaseline and waited for the squirrels to come. I'm not quite sure what happened but for a while no one came... not the squirrels, not the birds. Nothing. I kept checking and was getting pretty frustrated. I had bought a new bird feeder that stored more bird seed and thought maybe the birds didn't like the new feeder. I also thought perhaps there was something in the yard (like a snake) that was scaring them away from coming. Justin and I had many conversations about the lack of birds... maybe they didn't like Vaseline?

About a week passed and little by little the birds returned to the bird feeder. The squirrels came back also and it was great fun to watch them slide down the pole (even though I felt bad about getting their fur messy with Vaseline.) I still put the little bowl of food out for them... I mean, squirrels also have to eat... right? I didn't care that they ate the bird seed - I just didn't want them being bullies and scaring the birds away!

My very own Birdapalooza!
(Notice that the squirrel is on the ground and NOT on the feeder!!

**Don't look at our weeds, dead grass OR the "bush/tree from hell" to the left - thanks!** :)

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