Monday 30 July 2018

The arrogance of squirrels

For a long time I had no feeders in my garden. They were empty, stacked up in the shed, and I had few bird visitors. Why? Because every time I put up a feeder it would start to grow grey fur and a bushy tail. Whenever I looked outside all I could see would be squirrels gorging themselves on my hard-earned peanuts. They would stay all day, dropping off and rolling back home only when the sun went down. The following morning the queues would form well before sunrise - a ticketing system was in operation. The organising committee chair-squirrel would blow a whistle at dawn, and then a grey wave would rush down the garden and envelop anything edible. I tried everything but the result was always the same - fat squirrels. Finally I came up with the solution I had not wanted to try - place the feeders exactly in the middle of the lawn, mathematically working out the one spot that was furthest away from all possible squirrel launchpads. This is a pain as whenever I walk down the garden - which is very frequently - I have to dodge the bird-feeders. But it has worked, for now....

On Saturday morning I was up early, Wader twitchery on my mind. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes it seemed that the bird-feeder looked a bit different. Blinking a few times I looked again. Yes, it has definitely changed, but how?

Wait a minute! I've got it. The feeder has got....a tail. Huh? Gah! It's that bloody squirrel again! As I watched, it attempted to get around the baffle and then when it noticed me slid down the pole a short distance. 

Then it spoke!

"Yeah, what are you looking at? I'm just hungry OK, I'm always hungry. Those Monkey Puzzle seedlings you carefully grew and that I uprooted and ate the other day were no good. Well, maybe the eighth one was alright, but its peanuts that I really want. I just want peanuts. I can see them and I can smell them, and frankly this cone thing is a right pain. No, no, don't take it off. You see I am going to beat it, you know it and I know it, it is just a question of when. I want that satisfaction and I want to see the look on your face when you realise I've done it. I'm going to be going now so don't bother opening the door and trying to scare me, but I'll be back. I'm driven by constant and insatiable hunger, and that's a very powerful motivator. You've got to go to work on Monday, and as soon as you do this is where I'll be. I reckon I'll have it cracked by Tuesday, so fill her up loser!"

And then it slid the rest of the way down the pole and sauntered off down the garden.

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