Bonding with the squirrels
I don’t think there is a bird lover or bird enthusiast who hasn’t had a few run-ins with squirrels. They are the most aggravating, most persistent, and in general, biggest “nuisance” of all pests. No wonder many people (myself included) call them “tree rats.”
I have been waging war with a pair of these XZ#@!%! critters all season, over the rights to the seed in my bird feeders. I have sent the tree rats for wild rides with my mechanized spinner feeder. They come back. I have chased them with a broom. (That’s embarrassing.) They outran me, and later came back.
Finally, I resorted to vintage pump action BB-pistol that I found at the monthly flea market. But between my bad aim and the long time between shots, the gun had no effect, so the squirrels started taunting me. They would stop fleeing half way down the stairs and wait on the landing for me to run out of ammo. That’s what provoked me into chasing them with a broom that was close at hand.
Despite my lack of success, I have to admit that it has become great sport shooting at the squirrels, but my way-not-a-sharpshooter status is now the talk of the critter kingdom.
Apparently, squirrels told the raccoons that I am powerless, so they have started raiding the feeders every night.
The raccoons are much bigger targets than squirrels, but my wimpy BB-gun has absolutely no effect on them. Zero. Zip. Nada.
In fact, in another embarrassing moment, as I was dissuading a raccoon that was standing his ground directly below my deck (and bird feeders) as my BB-gun continually misfired. I simply stared him in the eye and dropped the gun on him from 16 feet. Of course, I missed him.
I had about given up my claim to the birdfeeders, when my wife and I watched a 60-Minutes retrospective, celebrating the 50-year legacy of “James Bond” films (I have seen them all.) Eureka. Bond had given me the answer to my critter problems — James Bond’s weapon of choice — a Walther PPK pistol, shaken not stirred.
I could act out “Goldfinger” or “The Man with the Golden Gun.” If I missed my target, I could shout out to the squirrels, “Die Another Day.”
Unfortunately, when I proposed the idea of upping the arms race to my wife, she acted out a scene from “Dr. No,” thereby revoking my “License to Kill.”
Fortunately, I am an eternal optimist. In fact, I have a sort of, “Tomorrow Never Dies” philosophy, so I went on the Internet and found a Walther PPK replica — a BB-gun — with a 15-shot clip, rapid-fire, semi-automatic action, and BB’s traveling at 295 feet-per-second. Amazon.com to the rescue.
Here squirrely, squirrely — BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM … BLAM.
After just three days of blasting away at the squirrels and raccoons, I have very little “pestage” at the bird feeder, and so far I have resisted the temptation to shoot at the turkeys that feed on the rejected seed below the feeders. But, it’s a long 18 weeks until Thanksgiving, and now that I have my own Walther PPK BB gun, I want to use it.
So bring it on, squirrels. Show me what you’ve got. Come back to my bird feeders and I’ll be glad to introduce myself. “Bond, James Bond."
Writer's Note: No squirrels were harmed, frightened or even discouraged during the writing of this story. For details about a better way to repel squirrels at your bird feeder, look for my upcoming column on a new line of bird feed, that squirrels find too, "Hot, Hot, Hot" — now available at Pleasant Places on Main Street in Waynesville.