Those baffling squirrels


“I’ll be back,” threatens the squirrel. (Photo credit: Rich Jacques)

Who was it who first said: “Necessity is the mother of invention”? Was it a squirrel?

Shoulda known by the look the clerk gave me at the Wild Bird Center when I bought this bird feeder, declaring, “It really looks squirrel-proof!” She knew. Nothing is squirrel-proof.

My industrial-strength, copper-clad, widget-filled tube feeder looked askew this morning, so I went out to inspect. The squirrels had previously figured out how to lift the locked lid, chewing a spout into the plastic tube, and with just a small shift in weight, apparently had been gulping the seed like jujubes at the movies. But I duct-taped that problem.

This time. Unbelievable. They musta been working on this for weeks, like Tim Robbins’ character’s escape hatch in “The Shawshank Redemption.” Three of the four lug nuts holding together the bottom of the feeder were missing — I later found them buried in the ground. The feeder was hanging on by just one lug nut, which had gotten lodged in the corner of the wire mesh. In frustration, I imagine, the squirrels had rammed the tube to one side of the cage, where it got stuck. NUTS!!

I think they had outside help. Must be working with the crows.

It took me, a human with a mostly evolved brain, a half-hour to figure out how to put the thing back together. I realized too late I should have taken a picture to amuse you.

Next time, squirrels, next time!!!!

Simply baffling. And here’s video of the most ingenious squirrel baffle I’ve seen. But does it work?


Torn between two hovers

Snowy owl vs. Yellow warbler.

Snowy owl.

Image via Wikipedia

I have no real-world experience with either of these birds, so rather than argue for one over the other to snatch a perch in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “March Migration Madness” Airborne 8 bracket as I have for previous contenders — fairly persuasively, if I do say so myself, and I do, totally alone on that  — I think I’ll use a lifeline.

HELP!! I can’t choose.

(I really think the snowy owl should have gone up against the bald eagle; might have been a fairer fight, two raptors, white heads, golden eye orbs and all …)

OK, FOCUS. Don’t forget this isn’t just a popularity contest, be scientific, there are scientists behind it, ya know.

We’ll compare in list form.
Both the snowy owl and yellow warbler have their pluses and pluses.

The Snowy Owl

1. Served as a pivotal plot device last year in “The Big Year,” a movie just out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy … and sorely snubbed by the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, SAGs, Critics’ Choice, Rotten Tomatoes, MTV, Rondo Awards, etc., etc. In 1998, the snowy owl was the one bird eluding champion birder Sandy Komito, represented as Kenneth Bostick in the flick, played by Owen Wilson. The quest canned his marriage. If he’d just waited about 15 more big years, global warming would have made spotting a snowy owl much easier.


2. Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, one of the best characters was indubitably Owl. What kind of owl was he? A brilliant one. Could spell his name: Wol. I loved his squiggles, and his throat-clearing.

3. The whole Harry Potter thing. Honestly, though, the U.S. Postal Service might take note.

4. They are possessed by the devil and their heads spin around.

5. Before my aunt Susie was into eagles (see previous post, “Stateliness vs. Subterfuge: A slam-dunk”), owls floated her boat. She collected anything and everything owl-inspired, and for each holiday gift, uninspired relatives fed her addiction. Note to self: Don’t ever tell people what your favorite species is. Susie had owl hand towels, owl corkscrews, owl running mats, even owl sunglasses. This was before those hoarding shows became popular.

The Yellow Warbler

1. It is yellow.

2. It warbles.

SEE? Feels like a sequel, Hedwig and the Angry Finch, Oh, I know it’s not a finch.

It’s clear I need help. Someone, please, buy my vote.

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler (Photo credit: A. Davey)

English: Male Yellow Warbler (Dendroica aestiv...