Backyard Wildlife… The Squirrel

We’ve had this one bird feeder in the backyard for almost two years now, without any problems with squirrels.  But that changed this week.  We now have a small red squirrel who visits us daily, cleans up the seeds dropped on the ground by the birds, and has, unfortunately, begun to raid the bird feeder itself.  He’s actually figured out how to raid both of our feeders.  I think I’ve outwitted him for now, though, by putting the the feeders out on weaker branches in the oak tree and by putting the feeders farther away from the branches by adding additional clothes hangers.  Seems to be working so far!

Do you have trouble with squirrels trying to steal the food you put out for the birds?  Here’s a fun article from the National Wildlife Federation“10 Tips for Outwitting Squirrels“.  I particularly like Tip # 2… slinky surprise!

Here are some photos of our resident squirrel.  He’s lucky he’s cute.  My son and I enjoy watching him and his antics.


  1. We have squirrels that hang out in the trees in the back. Last year they stole all the tomatoes off our plants, so we decided to buy from the Farmer’s Market this year. 🙂


    1. We had a bunny that came in and ate all of our carrots (no joke)! And they were in containers, not in the ground. I’ve given up on growing veggies, now, except for kale, which the animals don’t seem to like.


  2. You are lucky to attract so many wildlife to your garden. In Britain th red squirrel is now rare, as the grey squirrels like the one you have are out competing them for food. In the Isle of Wight the red squirrel is successful, as no grey squirrels are there yet. Culls have been proposed of greys in Britain to protect the red squirrels.


    1. Interesting. I think it’s the opposite here in Northern California (but I’d have to do some research to confirm). I believe the red squirrels (which are larger) have moved into the gray squirrels territories and taken over. It’s rare to see the gray ones anymore.


        1. Wow, that is a cute little red squirrel in Scotland! Too bad he’s such a problem. I did some research, and the introduced eastern fox squirrel (what I have in our backyard) has taken over the habitat of the western gray squirrel in California, Oregon, and Washington (the grays breed less frequently). Found this quote… “Western Grays are a federal Species of Concern, but are not listed as threatened or endangered.” They are still hunted in California and Oregon.


  3. Chipmunks would be tough… they are so small and light, they’d be able to climb to almost anything! Our squirrel is a young one, so he’s able to get to the smaller branches so far, but not for long. I haven’t heard of “hot meats”. We’re looking for a more kid-friendly birding journal now!


  4. Yes! I had so many problems with squirrels and chipmunks–a chipmunk that actually got INSIDE the squirrel-proof birdfeeder! (Also had a bear climb up a tree and rip our birdfeeder off the hook and raid it! Yikes!)
    So, I went to our friendly neighborhood wild bird store man, and he recommended a “hot meats” bird seed. Expensive, but worth it, since all those critters were eating all of my birdseed, anyway, and keeping the birds away.
    I used to keep a birdwathchers journal with my children when they were young (bought a beautiful illustrated journal)–I’ll bet you’re already doing that, nature mom. 🙂


    1. Your comment about the bear – each year the black bear climb my apple trees and leave deep claw marks – I haven’t seen one climb, but I sure know when one’s been here… :O


      1. The bears must LOVE those fresh apples! We don’t have bears in the Bay Area, but I’ve seen plenty hiking and backpacking in Yosemite. Black bears are great climbers when they want the food we’ve hung from the tree (to protect the food from being stolen from the bears). And they teach their babies, who are lighter, to climb the trees and drop the food sack down to mom, who’s waiting below.


        1. The elk sometimes pass through our yard. The deer show up each year, as our road is lined with blackberries (the invasive type) and the black bear come through in the fall. I’ve never seen them during the summer months, though. I’ll have to take some pics of the trunks of the apple trees. We have four OLD ones on our property and planted 5 new ones.
          Read Alex’s response and saw Isle of Wight — we planted an Isle of Wight Pippin! 🙂


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