Squirrels driving you nuts around bird feeders? Readers offer advice

A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit.

-- actress Sarah Jessica Parker

Your squirrel tales continue.

I know. I know. They chew through electric power lines. They slip into our attics and leave nut collections. They bully the birds from our backyard feeders.

The latter seems to particularly provoke many of you, but that problem has also inspired solutions, which I am happy to share.

Walter Kendrick writes: "To keep squirrels out of bird feeders, I put a piece of ductlike tin material around the object. You can buy it at home improvement stores. It comes in a small roll and can be cut with tin snips. They cannot climb it."

Paul Shivers , of Waynesboro, says: "Purchase three 'joints' of stove pipe, snap it in place around the pole supporting your bird feeder, resting on the ground, and you will be rid of your squirrel problem. Be sure the feeder is located so the animals cannot jump to it from a structure or tree."

Judy Davidson writes: "We were feeding all the neighborhood squirrels from our bird feeder until my husband Jim found the 'baffle' at Wild Birds Unlimited.

"The apparatus is a cylinder with one closed end that fits on the pole. The squirrels go up, reach a dead end short of the feeder, and come back down.

"Most of the squirrels don't even try anymore, but occasionally we see a rookie go up and make the U-turn. I suspect the other squirrels are on nearby limbs pointing and chattering."

Joyce Quinn , of Aiken, puts it simply: "I bought a squirrel-proof bird feeder at Birds and Butterflies in Aiken."

Howard Battle apparently thinks outside the box. He suggests: "Place an old-time Slinky around the pole that holds your bird feeder and have a lot of fun watching the squirrels trying to climb the pole."

Lynn and Jim Herrmann , of Evans, say: "Take a 41/2-inch (I measured from one side of the circle to the other, which hopefully is correct as my beloved husband was out golfing when I did this) white PVC pipe and put over the bird feeder pole.

"My husband lathered the bird feeder pole with Vaseline, which worked for a while and ... well, you get the picture."

Thank you all for your squirrel suggestions, but I'll leave you with another squirrel tale, as reported last week in The New York Times.

The British, The Times reports, are getting rid of squirrels by eating them.

"These days ... in farmers' markets, butcher shops, village pubs and elegant restaurants, squirrel is selling as fast as gamekeepers and hunters can bring it in," the newspaper said.

There are several reasons, most importantly because there are millions of squirrels "rampaging throughout England, Scotland and Wales."

Added to the problem is that the gray squirrels introduced from North America over the past century are crowding out Britain's beloved red squirrels. In 2006, an SOS group (Save Our Squirrels) began its campaign to devour the competition with its motto: "Save a red, eat a gray!"

The next thing you know, everybody's eating squirrels. Among them is Nichola Fletcher , a food writer, who held a squirrel tasting for Britain's Guild of Food Writers. She found "their lovely flavor tasted of the nuts they nibbled."

(Ms. Fletcher, I say: Keep nibbling!)

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com

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