The Squirrel Guard Needs a Revision

Let the battle begin!

Two years ago, I tore down a bird feeder which had provided endless entertainment for me and the family. I was preparing to put the house up for sale, and the ratty looking weather beaten platform feeder leaned five degrees northward. I didn’t think prospective buyers would be impressed. Since then I have changed course and am not selling the house or moving anytime soon.

I have breakfast every morning at the window watching the yard, and I realized that I miss seeing the birds. In fact, the yard was conspicuously quiet of birds and squirrels. It was time to build a new feeder. What a great way to break in my newly remodeled workshop with a simple wood working project. I didn’t have a plan, but I did have a pile of grey scrap wood that was in my way, so the feeder began to take shape.

The last feeder was never painted, I rationalized that birds would be deterred from newly painted wood and left it au-naturale. This time, I had some left over paint and decided to give the bird cafeteria a fresh new look. In a few days I had completed the job, but no longer had a post to support it. It too, had been scrapped. Again, I scrounged the wood pile next to the house to find something. At first I thought a piece of PVC pipe could do the trick, but decided it was too flexible to support the heavy cafe. Aha! I spotted a twisted two by eight about seven feet long. It had such a severe twist in it that I never used it for any other job. I pulled it out and set up on the patio to rip it right down the middle to make two pieces of equal cross section. I glued and screwed them together to make a 4 x4 post. A birdie in my brain told me that burying a wooden post into dirt causes the wood to rot, and the post will go the way of many fence posts. More scrounging uncovered a sheet of aluminum. It became a simple matter to clad the end of the post with aluminum to slow decay. Finally, I painted the post and moved on to the final step.

Time was running out, and if I delayed digging a hole for the post any longer the ground would freeze and the feeder wouldn’t open for business until late spring. Two days later I finally found my post hole digger and began digging. The first twelve inches through top soil went quickly, the next ten inches was through clay and took thirty minutes of digging to accomplish, but the post went in, and I was worn out and happy. Cafe de Bird was ready. I poured a cup of bird seed onto the floor and made a bet with my wife that it would take twenty-four hours for the birds to find it. Naturally, I lost, they were pecking at seed within two hours of opening. Side by side with the birds was a young squirrel. I delayed adding a squirrel guard until I saw a need for one. Well, the need happened almost immediately.

More scrounging through my various piles of junk around the house uncovered a section of sheet metal used to form a stove pipe. It became a simple matter to cut it down to size and install it around the post. The theory of the pipe is that the diameter is too large and slippery for a squirrel to grasp and they slide off. It works. I used one on the previous feeder. I made a bet with myself that it would be a few days before a squirrel would beat this guard. I lost again. It took ten minutes for the little rodents to run up the post under the sheet metal tube. At least I made him squirm a little while he made it through. The next step is to add another deterrent inside the pipe. Would you like to bet with me about how long it will be before the creatures learn they can make a super-squirrel leap up to the cafe?