By Jack Spaulding
When I first installed my sunflower seed birdfeeder, I hung it from a single cable attached to a high limb and positioned the wire basket 42 inches above the ground. At that height, I knew it was safe from all ground attacks by chipmunks and squirrels. They simply could not reach the feeder by jumping. The four legged critters were welcome to clean up under the feeder, but no direct access was allowed.
Christmas weekend, I glanced out the window, and to my amazement, there was a squirrel hanging upside down on the feeder with its back legs tucked in the top bail and hard at work with its front paws shoveling the seeds into its mouth.
Yanking open the window, I gave my best attempt at loudly barking like a dog. The squirrel quickly bailed off the feeder while my wife looked around the corner and asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
Explaining my immediate need to vacate the larcenous squirrel, all I could think of was to try to sound like a mean dog. She said I sounded more like a crazed banshee!
I couldn’t believe how the squirrel got to the feeder, so I watched for it to return. Unfortunately, my barking was highly effective. The squirrel didn’t come back for another run at the feeder that evening.
The next day, I checked, and sure enough, the squirrel was back. Not wishing to scare it out of the county, I eased the window open and barked softly.
The squirrel quickly looked up and jumped off the feeder but didn’t run away.
I watched carefully, fully expecting the squirrel to climb a nearby tree and jump onto the feeder.
Then, I got the surprise of my life as the little rascal simply coiled its back legs and shot straight up in the air. At the very height of the jump, it grabbed the feeder rim with both paws like Michael Jordan used to do dunking a basketball, and pulled itself up onto the wire basket. Quickly, it whipped its back legs over its head and hooked them in the bail and hung upside down, free to use its front paws to start shoveling seeds out of the feeder.
What a jump! It was the equivalent of an NBA player stuffing a dunk shot into a basketball goal 24 feet over his head! NBA in my backyard must stand for the Nut Baggers Association!
Loading up the birdfeed bucket with more sunflower seeds and a new suet cake, I headed out to replenish the feeder. I also brought along my measuring tape.
Sure enough, the bottom of the feeder was still a good 42 inches off the ground. Making an adjustment on the cable, I checked the new level to now be 48 inches.
Now, we’ll see how successful you are, Squirrel Jordan! Bring it on!
Jack Spaulding is a state outdoors writer and a consumer of RushShelby Energy living along the Flatrock River in Moscow. Readers with questions or comments can write to him in care of Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.