Monday, January 24, 2011

How Do You Outwit Your Squirrels?

I'm working on the 3rd edition of my book, Outwitting Squirrels, and am looking for squirrel stories.

First published in 1988, Outwitting Squirrels, subtitled, 101 Cunning Stratagems to Reduce Dramatically the Egregious Misappropriation of Seed from Your Birdfeeder by Squirrels, is about how to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders and gardens. For some reason squirrels don't heed the signs that say "No Squirrels," and we have to deploy Plan B (not to mention Plan C, D, E, and every other plan) to thwart squirrels.

Have you had a successful, unsuccessful, or funny encounter with a squirrel? Has a squirrel ruined your day? Your week? Your life? Or have you fallen madly in love with the squirrel who comes to your porch each day, begging for nuts. I want to hear your story, no matter how, um, nutty.

Email me your squirrels stories at outwittingsquirrels at gmail (DOT) com or comment here.

Bill Adler


  1. Well, since the hawk has left the building, you can interview my grey squirrels looking to winter above my computer room. They are listening to Bob Dylan and Metallica now with florescent lighting and some critter ridder room deodorizer. They return and empty out the insulation and tear out the metal screens and eat the wooden facing to my window dormer. I think they are more afraid of black squirrels in the back yard than of me. I have a nice white oak in the front yard with plenty of acorns and a nice nest but when the hail and snow comes...

  2. Well, we dealt with it by offering the squirrels better nuts than the birds were getting. The squirrels ate at their feeder and left the birds alone...except for that one day that I was sick and didn't restock the squirrel food and they editorially tore apart the bird feeders.

    Thugs, I tell you. Thugs.


  3. Friends kitchen was ransacked by a couple squirrels that got in via a hole in the wall , behind the oven. She got home and saw it ransacked and thought there was an intruder. But then she 2 squirrels ran by scaring the heck out of her. I guess living in an apartment with squirrels is better than rats. Kinda...

  4. My dad hates, hates, hates the squirrels raiding the "squirrel-proof" bird feeders next to the deck. He keeps a Super Soaker in the kitchen so he can shoot at them from the kitchen door. One winter he dashed out onto the icy deck to chase them off the feeder, and he slipped, fell and broke his arm... to this day, I tell people that squirrels broke my dad's arm!

  5. I have your original edition and love it. When I read about the old saucer sled used as a baffle, I guffawed--my dad did that when I was a kid! It worked for awhile, till finally one squirrel threw himself at the edge and defeated it as we looked out the window and cheered--he'd earned it! Bravo!

    And then they all did it. Demo, food, done.

    My SquirrelBuster birdfeeder, going on three years old, works as advertised, except that the squirrels have apparently thrown themselves at it a few times to try to give it a shakedown before it closes--but they seem to have quit doing that. I guess the ones below ate the little bit of spill fast and it was too frustrating and difficult to bother with.

    I have a long wooden-frame porch awning that I hang a suet cake from, closer to the house than the feeder, and I know the squirrels can get at it because I've seen them carefully working their way clinging upside down the edge of the plank towards it--but only two ever tried it. Once each. I came outside hollering and there was no way out in time, no easy turning around, no getaway. The fact that a Cooper's hawk has established a nest next door helps, too--they seem to be a little more wary of that kind of exposure.

    I watched a trio of tiny young'uns on their first field trip arrive under my feeder 18 months ago and got to watch them grow up. One has become a favorite who knows just where to go to beg just exactly so, no closer, no raiding the suet set out on the table for the Bewick's wrens, it behaves perfectly and it gets rewarded with nuts. We've trained each other well.

    One thing I learned from watching those three distinctively-marked baby black squirrels is that, before maturity, they don't have object permanence. You can throw a nut past them and they'll start to turn their heads to follow the trajectory and then not remember why they...what...whatever.

    But after they do, then they can remember and go hunting around off thataway where you tossed it over their heads. They get it.

    As for the raiders of that last arc, the extras that show up when word gets around that there's a nutchase over here, when all else fails, my kids' old supersoaker has proven very useful for teaching them right from ain't no way buddy, not when I'm around, at least.

  6. cover the nuts in chilli powder