I not only have a garden full of various bird feeders, I have a row of them suspended from two large trees in the wood. Gradually, the ordinary seed and peanut feeders have gradually been replaced by expensive versions that have at last, proved to be squirrel-proof.
What incredible creatures Squirrels are and one must admire their perseverance and endless experimentation. We have tried the purpose-built plastic domes that over-hang the feeders, which in theory, prevents a Squirrel from reaching the food. So what do they do?
They bite around the bottom plastic edges, reducing the height of the dome to half its size. Then, hanging by their tails from the top fixing wire, they are able to hang down and feast on the delights provided.
We tried another anti-Squirrel feeder. It was ingenious in that the bird perches at the base were weighted so that any creature heavier than a Chaffinch would trigger the outer casing to drop and cover the seed-feeding apertures.
Great! This feeder remained intact for several months, although it did not prove very popular with the birds. So some seed was always left inside, giving the Squirrels the chance and time to work out how to crack its security code.
Then they cracked it! I watched as one hung from the wire by its tail, gripped the bottom of the feeder and tipped it upside down, scattering the seed onto the ground, where they promptly devoured their reward.
There are some great videos showing the resourcefulness of our dear Grey Squirrels – here is a link to just one of them.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUDOTefoVAA
The Grey Squirrel was introduced to Britain in the middle of the 19th century and gradually spread, taking over habitats from our own native Red Squirrel.
Our varied countryside suited them well as, unlike it British cousin, they are able to live without the habitat of large areas of woodland. They eat fruits, seeds and nuts as well as bark, leaves and flowers.
They have few predators and can live for up to ten years, although most die younger, due to road accidents, hunger in cold winters and pest control.
Size: 25cm. Tail: 20cm.
Colour: Grey, brown and white.
Habitat: Woodland, hedgerows and gardens.
Food: Nuts and seeds.