Like most people who have a bird feeder, I wage a constant battle against squirrels. I have only one thing against squirrels. They are pigs. They spend long stretches feeding from the bird feeder. While they are feeding, no birds will come to feed. They make a big mess, often spilling the entire contents of the feeder. If they would limit themselves, I might not feel as much animosity toward them.
I bought a “squirrel proof” feeder which was supposed to close when heavier squirrels tried to feed. It didn’t prevent them from anything.
Because of where our feeder is located, my options for foiling the squirrels or a least limiting their access are few. So I opted for the path of least resistance: I allow them to eat their fill.
Now it is nearing spring. I have switched bird foods from the mix I buy in the cold winter to all sunflower seeds. I think I should have done this sooner. The higher fat content in the sunflower seeds sates the squirrel more quickly, or seems to. They come less often and don’t stay as long which gives the birds a chance to eat. This brings me to the next “problem”. Goldfinches.
Goldfinches are the squirrels of the bird world. Ravenous eaters, they come early in groups to the feeder and stay much of the day. The flock which I host is a dozen or more. These tiny, delicate birds are persistent. When other, larger birds come to eat, they will allow them a perch but don’t abandon the feeder altogether. I am filling the feeder more often these last weeks, and the only newcomers are the finches.