I am doing a terrible thing.
Well, it’s not really terrible, but it FEELS terrible. It is something that I have fought against doing involuntarily for years on end. I have invested time and money and brainpower into not doing it. I have studied and read up and compared notes with others on how not to do it. I have dug my heels in and Not Done It with a will.
I am feeding the squirrels.
I wasn’t always opposed to squirrel feeding, really I wasn’t. I enjoyed the antics of my squirrel buddies, since they were all so horrifically defective–Lumpy and Stumpy and Gimpy and Stubby, a band of miscreants who suffered every disorder and misfortune known to squirrelkind.
But when you don’t sit right next to the window, when the squirrels become a nameless scourge of obviously highly effective squirrels without a botfly between ’em, when your feeders empty the second your back is turned…you begin to go to the anti-squirrel methods. Hot pepper. Baffles. Mechanized flippers. Anything to control their depredations.
But here I am, years later, feeding them.
I blame Kevin. Here I am, your average garden bird-watcher, putting out birdseed for the little juncos and titmice and chickadees, reveling in my Yankee Flipper birdfeeder* that throws the squirrels off the perch if they try to sit on it. And then reports come in of a vast acorn shortage across the East Coast and into the Midwest. (Seriously. Apparently it’s not just a scarce year, it’s a no-acorns-for-a-hundred-miles year. Biologists are stumped. This is unusual behavior in our oak trees.) And Kevin looks at me with puppy dog eyes** and says "But we have to put out corn! The squirrels are starving!" and I mutter and grumble and stomp my feet and there is more puppy-dog eyes and finally I give up and the next thing I know, I’m dumping out bags of critter food for the little idiots.
He’s right. The squirrels ARE starving. According to some reports, they’re apparently going nuts, raiding trash cans and vegetable patches, and during Halloween season would descend onto porches and skeletonize pumpkins with ferocity that would do piranhas proud. So rather than being a mere side dish beside the acorn harvest, our feeders may be a primary food source for the bushy tailed little rats.
Maybe I can get fifty pound bags of this stuff down at the feed store…
*Still one of the best christmas gifts I’ve ever gotten
**I am the only person on earth this works on. Bald tattooed men were not meant to do the puppy dog look.