Sunday 26 February 2012

Caught in the act

In my garden I have a "bird-feeder" in which I put seeds and nuts for the birds to eat. Unfortunately my local squirrel population don't seem to have bought into the concept, and they see the device as being fair game. Unlike birds, squirrels can't fly, so getting at the nuts is more difficult for them. In the past I had some bird-feeders with plastic fittings and the squirrels found it easy enough to bite through the plastic to get at the nuts, so now I have one with metals fittings. The squirrel is an ingenious animal though so this hasn't deterred them. They just have to resort to a few physical contortions to get what they want.

For instance, can you scratch your ear with your leg, whilst perched high in a tree, balancing on a tiny bough??? Squirrels can.

Can you hang upside-down, holding onto a branch with your legs? Squirrels can.

It does make your eyes bulge a bit though...

Here he is making his getaway:

And disappearing into the distance, running along my neighbour's fence before diving into the bushes...

To be honest, I'm not too fussed about the squirrels nicking the odd few seeds and nuts - just as long as they don't monopolise the scene and take everything, leaving the birds with nothing, so I occasionally shoo the squirrels away if I see them wading in too enthusiastically.

P.S. Nothing to do with squirrels, but I just wanted to record it: I sowed the first seeds of the year yesterday (I don't count the Mustard and Cress and the Baby Leaf Salad which I sowed as a tester). Of course they were chillis! This year I am growing four types. Two of them are ones I had last year - "Hot Portugal" and "Fuego F1", but I have also got "Amando F1" along with some seeds from an unnamed variety I brought back from our holiday in Turkey last Autumn. The Turkish one looks like this:


  1. Some good photos of the squirrel; I could do some of those things when I was younger lol. I did my pepper and chilli sowing last year on 20 Feb but I'm gonna give it another week or two this year.

  2. We haven't seen any squirrels in the garden for a couple of years and they certainly played havoc with the seed containers - great shots Mark

  3. We don't get squirrels in our garden, but my mum and dad used to get them in their's and they were a real nuisance breaking the feeders to get at the seeds and nuts. They're such cute little things though, I love to watch them.

  4. I despise the squirrels. We had to net all of our tomatoes last year to be able to get tomatoes. But at least it worked!!!

  5. We have squirrels everywhere here. I like them.

  6. Squirrels are the bane of my life in the garden! They cause absolute havoc digging up the bulbs, chewing through any electrical wiring and even eating the heads off daffodils and tulips. They even once chewed through all the lines on the rotary washing line and left it looking like a ‘spaghetti’ tree. Cute...I think not...

    1. Wow, ours mostly stay in the trees. Not too long ago people used to shoot them to eat them here, maybe they learned not to bother us from that? Even today kids still from time to time practice with their 22's on squirrels. I have never had a dug up bulb or a chewed anything from squirrels.

  7. At my last house the squirrels were terrible. They ate everything. Here they seem to be more sedate. They rarely go after anything except the cucumbers when it is hot out (I think they like the water). Rats with tails. And I don't like rats in my garden.

  8. i think maybe if you put a couple of those chilli seeds on the bird feeder that pesky squirrel may never come back!

  9. First seeds planted, let the work begin! I spent last three days in my tiny garden. Few beds are ready but I am concerned about the weather: will we have below 0 temp? Or I'll be fine? I asked locals, they don't know: the weather in this parts is so unpredictable! I guess I just have to gamble... Great post, Mark!

  10. that sun, I see? The seasons are certainly starting to turn.

  11. My daughter likes to rehabilitate squirrel orphans and release them back into the wild... not that the population is suffering. I let her do it though, I figure it is a great biology lesson. Most of the time they leave my garden alone. Sometimes they dig up beds I've direct seeded but I've learned to lay sheets of hardware cloth over my new plantings until they get large enough to survive a little nut-hiding.

    I agree with Dom, those chilis you are growing will deter squirrels. Interestingly, they won't bother the birds since our feathered friends can't taste capsaicin.

  12. I believe the squirrels here are very tame, they have never gotten anywhere near my plants (I am thankful for that, of course.) But having a bird feeder your garden is such a nice idea to welcome our fellow beings.

    I sowed some red bell pepper seeds yesterday and also bought home a new orange bell pepper plant. Cant wait to harvest them.

  13. That chilli looks great. I am so pleased with mine this year, especially the Cayenne & the long Cayenne. I think I'll experiment with a few more varieties next year.

  14. We get an occasional squirrel mainly in autumn when they bury peanuts all over the garden - I love watching them pat down the soil with a little wiggle.

    I know of someone who hung a peanut feeder up with string - the squirrel bit through the string and the feeder dropped to the ground - easy pickings.

    Do you remember the ad with Cyril the SAS squirrel?

  15. I loved squirrels when I lived in England. They were such cute small versions of our giant possums. I used to love how they'd run along the tops of the fences.

    Like your chillies! It is so much fun reading about yourt northern hemisphere gardens getting going and ours at the same time retreating into our (albiet) mild Australian winters.

  16. The squirrels here can be quite destructive, but a liberal dose of chilli powder in the seed can result in some comical viewing!

  17. I'm not sure I want to try and balance upside down, high in a tree whilst scrathing my ear with my leg Mark...I'll take your word for it not being easy!
    You have squirrels...we have pesky possums, but I suppose we share this planet so for the odd spoil we'll turn a blind eye. Only the odd spoil mind!

    You're determined to get spring started by planting your'll have me in autumn before you can say 'sowing seeds' but I'd really like another month of summer if possible ;)


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.