I was surprised to see this article about squirrels being horrible pests, because in our backyard the squirrels are a source of significant entertainment and, frankly, some pride.
My experience with our backyard squirrels began when I decided to try to keep our bird feeders stocked with bird seed this year. We have two curved iron poles on which we hang the bird feeders under one of our trees.
It quickly became apparent that the bird seed I was putting out was, in part, ending up as squirrel food instead, because we easily had the most well-fed squirrels in the neighborhood. One Saturday I decided to watch the feeders to determine, first hand, what was happening. Sure enough, within minutes after I filled the feeders and left the backyard a stout squirrel appeared. After sniffing around and carefully analyzing how to get to the seeds in the feeder, this animal Spiderman shinnied quickly up the four-foot wrought iron pole, clutched the pole with three paws, and batted the feeder with his free front paw, knocking seeds to the ground and alarming the birds nearby. Then he dropped quickly to the ground and vacuumed up the seeds that were of particular interest. In the meantime a portly fellow squirrel strolled out onto the branch about two feet above our other bird feeder, hurled himself deftly on top of it, knocked still more seeds to the ground, and then leaped back up to the branch and scampered down to the ground to claim his reward. My backyard squirrels, like the redoubtable Twiggy in the YouTube video above, clearly would be fully capable of waterskiing and, probably, leaping over a few barrels and through a flaming hoop of fire in the process.
My original idea this summer was to provide some seeds that would bring colorful songbirds to our backyard. That has happened, but I’ve also attracted my squirrel friends and encouraged their hard work in the process. I’ve been impressed and am not going to begrudge them a sunflower seed or two.