Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In which the success of one project tanks something that was working well.

The cats were intently watching something out the back door, so I went to see what they were looking at. I assumed it was a bird, as I have installed suet feeders so they can watch the birds.  The feeders hang from the beam that serves as the support beam for the upper porch. This has been a great location as only birds can access the suet feeders.

Or so I thought.  

What the cats were looking at was a squirrel perched at the top of the rolled up catio fence.  This sits on the right-hand side of the porch. I keep it rolled up there because the right side of the catio can remain attached and I need only hook up the left side when I put the catio up.

The squirrel and I looked at each other for a while, until I went to get my camera so I could document whatever he had planned.  I came back and stretched out on the floor so I could look up at the porch.

Here's what I saw:  the squirrel, having made it halfway up the side of the house via the catio fence, scurried up the corner of the porch.  He disappeared from sight briefly, but reappeared hanging from the upper porch deck.  Then he used his front paws and hauled in--paw over paw, as if he was a sailor on the high seas--the suet feeder until he could chew on the suet.

And that's what he did.  He just kept eating the suet while I took a bunch of pictures.  I realized that the quick depletion of suet was not due to the starlings, but instead probably squirrels.

Sentinel and I watched (Antares had slunk away) for some time.  I was disgusted at the squirrel's ingenuity, Sentinel was interested in eating the squirrel.

Eventually there was no suet left, so the squirrel made his way down to the ground and started eating the large chunks of suet that had dropped from above.  He continued this despite my rearing up and standing full height.

Disgusted, I eventually let Sentinel outside to scare the squirrel and his buddy off.  Sentinel hopped outside, both squirrels took off, and I herded Sentinel back inside while I set up the catio as a reward for the cats' vigilance.  If they hadn't stared so intently, it might have taken me some time to figure out that squirrels were eating my suet.
As it is, I will have to relocate my feeders.  I'm thinking maybe the middle of the deck ceiling will work.  They would have to be ninja squirrels to stay upside down for that long.


balyien said...

Smart squirrels! I'm impressed. Our deck is surrounded by trees. Occasionally, squirrels will hang out in those trees and intentionally get my cat and dog riled up. I swear that they purposely taunt them. It's very annoying, but also kind of funny. I've been wanting to get a hummingbird feeder (the deck ceiling already has hooks for hanging plants) - you don't think the squirrels would try to drink from them, do you?

Patricia said...

I do admire their ingenuity. And I think they taunt. They are total masters of their domain. I'm sure the country squirrels think their city cousins have it easy.

My initial thought was, no, why would squirrels drink from a humming bird feeder? But a quick google search tells me they do. Bummer.

If the hooks are in the middle of the deck ceiling, you might have better luck?