From time to time, I will tell stories from much earlier in my life; which requires a disclaimer:
Disclaimer: These stories are from a time more than a quarter century ago and are seen through the rosy mists of time. Any relatives reading these stories are sure to say, “THAT isn’t the way it happened”.
But so what; it is my memory and I’m telling it my way. All others are welcome to start their own blog.
Dad was a birder. Not the kind of birder who goes into the forests counting birds for the Audubon Society, and not the kind that takes long hikes with binoculars and a bound journal to record sightings. He was the kind of birder who kept 4 bird feeders in the well protected “L” of the house between the screened porch and the breakfast nook; A pair of binoculars stayed on the table, ready for use during that second cup of coffee on winter mornings.
The feeders were well stocked on a daily basis in the winter, and in the summer nobody cared that the part of the lawn where the feeders were sprouted all kinds of vegetation other than standard grass. The birds loved it and regularly provided an early morning show.
Another creature loved the feeders also: A squirrel. That squirrel would climb right up to the feeder and sit and eat. And eat. And eat.
Dad was incensed; His first purchase to “save the seed” was a circular piece of metal called a “squirrel guard” for each feeder. They looked for all the world like a protective collar worn by a dog following surgery, but upside down. In theory, a squirrel couldn’t get around the guard and the feeder was “safe” for the birds. The squirrel guards were duly installed, but the next morning the sight of Mr. Squirrel having breakfast greeted Dad.
After watching for several mornings to try to catch the squirrel in the act, he saw the furry little guy climbing up the downspout on the screened porch and onto the roof from which he could jump to the feeder. After fuming for awhile and telling me all about it AT GREAT LENGTH in a phone conversation, he cut a small piece of metal and attached it in the curve of the downspout as it attached to the gutter so that the squirrel couldn’t get to the roof.
Several days later the squirrel was in the feeder again. More observation led to the discovery that the neighbor’s maple tree had an overhanging branch that provided access to the yummy bird seed. Trimming the tree with the neighbor’s permission helped for awhile but eventually the squirrel was back in the feeder, feasting on the seeds.
Finally, probably at my mother’s suggestion, squirrel friendly food was purchased and left at the base of the feeders. The squirrel won.