I have good news. I have defeated the squirrels, at least temporarily. The conical baffles and new pole positioning means they just can't get on the feeders. They visit frequently, looking up at the feeders wistfully, but we have never seen them manage to get up. We have a new enemy.... Parakeets. Before I even turn my back they festoon my feeders - I've had up to eight at the same time. The squirrel proof ones are no barrier, they have worked out how to hang off the pole and nibble away without engaging the spring-loaded cage. Their preference is for peanuts though, and with a sack coming in at over £30 this is bad news. Yesterday I discovered that the greedy bastards have sabotaged my main feeder. Look!
They have ripped the wire cage apart and created the concept of free-pour. I was away when it happened, but I can just imagine the scene as the last bit of wire was pulled to one side and a free run of liquid peanuts slid into waiting beaks. I can see them now, lying on their backs on the grass, red beaks open as the lead bird directs the stream of nuts straight down on them. It took five days to empty a 1.5kg tube, they are insatiable.
The other issue is that there are now so many that no other birds get a look in. When I looked outside on Sunday afternoon I saw five Parakeets and four feral Pigeons on the feeders, and two squirrels on the grass waiting for the spillage. Three species of Tit also visit, and I have Goldfinches on the nyger (which thus far seems uninteresting to the green horde), but overwhelmingly I just have birds that I don't want to see.
My next move is to put a cage around the feeder in the hope that this will allow small birds in and prevent bigger birds from scoffing everything, but these cost 20 quid each and are an expensive measure. Surely feeding our feathered friends is easier than this?