Squirrel Runs Obstacle Course

Squirrel Runs Obstacle Course

Julie Leibach
Published: 11/18/2009

If you have a birdfeeder, I'm willing to bet that you've had more than a few frustrating encounters with squirrels, particularly if the delicacies they're after include nuts. But after watching the video above, how can you not admire squirrels' indefatigable determination, not to mention adroitness? Frankly, I'd forgo a slice of molten chocolate cake if it meant running a gauntlet like this.

Heidi DeVos, Audubon's director of production and operations and also an avid birder, clued me into the video. She, for one, could relate: "I used to have squirrels coming to my second-floor window to get at the bird food," she wrote me in an email. "They would climb the metal post holding up an awning on the ground floor apartment; then climb the TV cable up the side of our brick building; and then run along the TV cable (which was attached to the wall), with their tails whirling like mad; then jump from the TV cable onto my windowsill. How they managed to maintain their balance on a cable which was immediately up against a wall, I never understood."

Of course, the bird feeder industry has developed products to deter these obstinate rodents. Droll Yankees, for example, has a few models to choose from. Take the "Yankee Flipper," which does to the furry thief what its name suggests...if you want to see the device in action, click here. (I have no idea what happened at the end, but I'm assuming that if a cat can land on its feet injury-free, so can a lighter squirrel.) You can also try using plain suet feed, which squirrels don't seem to be so interested in, according to Heidi, as well as nyjer seed.

Moral of the story: If you don't have a squirrel baffling device on your feeder, watch out. "I think they're a lot smarter than people assume," says Heidi.