The War of the Squirrels

on 06 June 2011

We bought a bird feeder many moons ago.  We live in a sort of wooded corner of the complex and there are a lot of songbirds about and we so enjoyed watching them that we thought we'd try feeding them.

Little did we know, that such a seemingly innocuous act would begin the War of the Squirrels.

You see, in addition to lovely songbirds, we also have quite the population of squirrels.  I find them odd, somewhat cute little friendly rodents.  Chris finds them 9 kinds of annoying and nothing short of PESTS.  And naturally, when we started with the bird feeder, there was no keeping the squirrels away.  There is food.  The squirrels are not quite as stupid as we humans might imagine, they are going to help themselves to the food.

And oh my heck, people, they are determined.  They climb the screen door!  They JUMP from the balcony railing UP to the feeder.  And in the process they scare the birds away.  Now, I wouldn't mind sharing with the squirrels, but when the squirrels eat freely, the birds won't come anywhere NEAR the feeder.  So Chris and I made a choice in favor of the birds and began our War of the Squirrels.

Now, there's no shortage of firearms in our household, but our back door overlooks a day care center (shrouded thinly by some trees), so we didn't think that firearms would be the way to go.  Our weapons of choice are as indicative of our natures as anything else.  I chose the water bottle.  I can open the back door, squirt the squirrels, they freak out and jump down.  No harm done.  Chris chose a sling shot with steel shot.  He opens the back door and opens up a Hail Mary rain of shot on the squirrels as they run into the woods.

Needless to say, the Squirrels are not afraid of Me.

And Chris' aim hasn't really been good enough to do much damage.  Until recently.

He killed one on Sunday.  He hasn't come close to the squirrels in the past and so I think it took him by surprise.  I was napping and he came in and had to confess that he had killed one.  Accidentally on purpose.  He had been shooting down at it and hit it squarely in the middle of its back.  It rose to eat no more.  And he picked it up with a piece of cardboard and took it further down into the woods.

This morning, bold as brass, a squirrel was Nom-Nom-Noming away on the feeder when he woke up and it didn't even run away when he opened the door.  He took aim and fired but this time...oh mylanta.  It screamed.  The Squirrel screamed.  And such a terrible, pitiful sound you never heard.  Chris looked at me and I looked at him and told him to just get the .22 and put it out of its misery, PLEASE.  It was writhing on the ground, and Chris took aim again and missed.  So I told him to go wring its neck or slit its throat or SOMETHING.

And my husband, soft as butter on the inside, but capable of taking care of the messy business when he has to, put on surgical gloves (yes, we keep some in our house) and trekked outside.  He tried to wring its neck but it ripped his glove, and so he slit its throat.  He took the body down to the woods again and came in.

Squirrels: 1 bag of bird feed
Burnstopia: 2 squirrels.

(The feeder is currently feeding 3 cardinals.  Chris said, "Look.  It's being used for its intended purpose and NOT as a buffet for rodents.")

The thing's just not worth it.  It's not worth the anger at trying to defend the stupid bird feeder (for crying out loud it's just a BIRD FEEDER).  It's not worth killing the furry little creatures.  It's not worth feeling BAD about killing the furry little creatures.  And so, after several months of war, we are choosing to just lay down our arms and stop fighting.  No winner.  No loser.  Just enough fighting.

Anyone want a free bird feeder?


Jeff VanD. said...

Wow... I don't blame you. I used to think I wanted to be a hunter... for the meat and stuff... yeah.. not any more. My stomach got a little queasy even hearing about Chris slitting his throat... uggg..

I do hate squirrels though. There was one in the tree right outside my window this morning and I kind of wished I had a slingshot.. until I read this post that is...

Cel and JP said...

I think you already said everything I was thinking while reading this post. And to echo, wow. I saw on PBS a bit about bird feeders that squirrels can't get to. I'm sure you could google it if you ever want to give it another go. Although - the squirrels of the leaping variety ... huh.

Rae said...

My friend, you need one of these:

Problem solved and hours of entertainment for you and the boy!

Brett said...

A couple of years ago we had a family reunion in Gatlinburg, TN, and my uncle brought his family out from the DESERT in California. They were so excited to see all of the squirrels. They pointed it out every time they saw one. SQUIRRELS. What's so exciting? They're everywhere in the south! I couldn't believe what a novelty they were for these kids. It's probably good they didn't come around your neck of the woods. ;-)