By David O. Heishman –
My squirrel feeder hangs about six feet off the ground in a maple tree in Big House’s front yard. Ten or fifteen feet from big bird feeder, I can keep an eye on them both as I sit writing or reading, sipping Chai Spice tea at dining room window. It’s a snowy day, snow birds and squirrels feeding industriously.
I think the “snow birds” are Juncos. They seem to fit the picture I got when I typed ‘little gray and white snow birds’ into Google on my computer. I wonder if they are the snow birds Anne Murray sang about years ago. They seem like happy little birds flitting about on snow, in bushes and especially pecking around in and under my feeder.
Bird feeder holds plain old commercial bird seed, cracked grains and sunflower seeds. I’ve seen one cardinal and one woodpecker so far today, rest Juncos. Last year squirrels bothered it until I mounted a conical chicken feeder lid on its pole beneath. I’m not sure if lid stymied squirrels or if they just preferred their own feeder I hung nearby about the same time.
Squirrel feeder, an old heavy wire egg basket, left over from the days long ago when we range raised breeder turkeys and hand gathered eggs in baskets before cleaning and packing. Basket’s hung by an old piece of rusty dog chain with a swivel snap, handle pulled up close to a lower limb. Squirrel feed consists of good hard dried walnuts.
I gathered them this past fall. Hulled and stored in five gallon buckets, I dole them out by the gallon can. Squirrels do the quality checks when they pick out next meal. Still they seem to prefer to forage for their own under Big House’s attendant Black Walnut trees except when snow is on.