Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Birds & Squirrels

The Cedar Waxwings are back!!! I just saw a flock of them in my leafless River Birch (Betula nigra) by the creek. I hope they find the Yaupon Holly that's just outside my office window again this year. It was an amazing sight with all of those birds covering the tree. And loud!

It was this time last year that a Waxwing got intoxicated and passed out on my porch. I loved her.

Later today, when I went outside to see if they were still around, I saw that the squirrel is back into my bird food.In his defense, one of my feeders is just an old harrowing disk from a tractor that is nailed to the railing. The cardinals and some of the larger birds seem to prefer this to the feeder.

But dammit, bird seed is expensive and I'm not interested in feeding greedy squirrels!

So I went outside and dumped ground red pepper all over the seed again to keep him out of it.I did this for the first time last week and it works great. I watched from the window as the squirrel began to gorge on seeds (I'm pretty sure I was wringing my hands with anticipation as I did this). The heat from the pepper hit him all at once and he straightened up like he had been hit by lightning. Then he let out a yelp and scurried away in a zigzag was great.

Now I know you are thinking I am mean. But really it's no worse than eating some spicy buffalo wings to you or me.

As for the birds, they don't even notice. They don't have the neural receptors that recognize the heat from peppers. In fact, birds have co-evolved with peppers to eat the fruit and spread the seed! And if you don't want to use up your kitchen spices, you can always buy seed that is pre-coated with red pepper.

It's nicer than a pellet gun, right?

Stay warm!


  1. I am going to look at that plate of food at your house for dinner in a different way for sure. It is amazing how those Cedar Waxwings just pop in overnight!

  2. If I ever serve you birdseed, assume it is covered in red pepper!

  3. That is one fat squirrel! You and my Dad should talk. His battle with the squirrels has been ongoing for 20+ years. He also harvests hickory and walnut meat for us as a gift every Christmas. We now call him "The Squirrel" and there's a shower curtain with squirrels on it in my house in his honor.



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