Monday, March 17, 2014

A Squirrel Called "I'll Kill You"

I have always enjoyed my backyard birds --the finches and sparrows, round-as-baseball cardinals and the occasional misunderstood jay looking for love in all the wrong places, squawking from my deck rail.

This year, however, I refocused.

Instead of filling the feeders when I remembered, I adhered to a strict regimen of maintenance. My stupid sons may no longer need mommy…but the birds do. 

Aiming for a variety of birds, I bought better seed and hung a large tray feeder right outside the kitchen window.  As a result of my diligence, I reveled in an amazing showcase of bird interaction just inches from where I typically stand (to both peel potatoes and question my place in the universe) in my kitchen.

All season I’ve enjoyed good times with my flying friends, often marveling at 6 or 7 eating from a single feeder with neither bickering nor one-up-man’s-ship as they flutter and peck. In my winter isolation, they became a metaphor of harmony--a veritable model for my wish for unity among my own kind. They would have thought I was insane if they knew that, in them, I had imbued so much hope for my own species.

Oblivious to the cold, I filled feeders, swept hulls and replaced suet and was rewarded by constant activity. I watched happily as I cooked and puttered, living for for the brilliant flashes of crimson as cardinals swooped about, settling ornamentally in trees between perching to snack.

One morning very recently, dreamily washing dishes and gazing out upon "my" birds, it happened. 

Hearing an odd scritch-scratching outside the window, a pertinent little face suddenly stared right at me through the glass. It was a squirrel who, not unlike Spiderman, climbed the shingles and leapt onto the feeder outside my window. The birds scattered and, with the feeder swinging wildly, he hung upside down and gulped seed at an alarming rate.

My reverie dispelled, I roared "I"LL KILL YOU!!!" at the intruder but he neither heard nor saw my bulging eyes as he gobbled, inches from my face. The birds, interrupted yet ever polite, sat in the trees and watched their lunch disappear. Opening the kitchen window, I scared him away only to have him reappear minutes later.

I had a pair of kitchen tongs in my hand and, without thinking, again bellowed "I'll KILL YOU!!," thrusting them through the screen, tearing a large hole in the mesh. Stopped by the glass, the tongs had no effect on little I'll Kill You who kept on chomping, tail above his head, beady eyes focused on his nom-noms.
Smart ass.

Thus began the war. 

I devoted every free moment to the defeat of I'll Kill You. On some level, I admired his moxy, his superiority over the rock-eaters of squirrel-dom who stared wistfully at the feeders while I'll Kill You took action. The snow might be covering the nuts he buried but here was his meal ticket and he would not be denied.

So I bought I'll Kill You some corn cobs and placed several outside only to count nine squirrels on the deck the following morning. "No more corn," said the husband, waving his tiny hands.”Squirrels are rodents, they will invade the house and kill us!"

So, to the internet I went: the experts agreed that hunger and the evolution of what was clearly a super squirrel was, likely, unstoppable. Determined, I eventually discovered a feeder that offered to centrifugally hurl I'll Kill You into oblivion if he so much as put a whisker on it.
Hold on a minute here...

Discouraged by my respect for I’ll Kill You as well as the price, I found other “guaranteed squirrel proof” feeders. One, called "The Tipper," caught my eye.

Was it possible? Could I still enjoy my daily avian comraderie yet thwart the disruptive I’ll Kill you by humanely tipping him to the ground?

How "the hurler" works.

This feeder,less costly than “the hurler" now hangs outside. 

I have not seen I’ll Kill You for two days. Nor have I seen a single bird. 

They have to get used to a new feeder, of course, but I’m worried. Buzzy and I both take great joy in our almost constant flow of birds-- Buzzy, as he dreams of eating them for breakfast and I,invisioning the lessons we might learn from they who care not about their differences as they spit seed and preen in the winter sun. Plus,they are damn cute.

If no one shows up soon, I may have to abandon the new feeder. If any of my dear readers has a suggestion regarding I'll Kill you, I welcome it. I also have to get a new screen.

Yes, you creepy weirdo, it did.


  1. As much as I love squirrels, they are not nearly as majestic to watch as those beautiful bursts of red, yellow and blue.

  2. Belly laughing. This post is wonderful.