Wit-NESS March

Peg 2015 for Newsletter

My Husband Hates Squirrels: I have a bird-feeding station outside of my dining room window. I love the various bird visitors which include more varieties than I wish to list here, but my favorite at the moment is a male cardinal which visits regularly. He sits in my apple tree to remind me that his special dish is empty, then flies down to eat sunflower seeds. Hiscardinal mate visits, too, but so far she only feeds on the ground.

Some people tell me that cardinals represent deceased loved-ones coming back to visit, but I am skeptical. If heaven is as great as they say, why would anyone choose to come sit in a dish of seeds surrounded by snow and starlings? Certainly my mother wouldn’t have been caught dead doing that… um… well, you catch my drift.

But I’m actually writing about squirrels.  My husband’s morning routine includes frequent squirrel-deterrent activity. He bangs on the window, waves his arms and sometimes rattles the aluminum storm-door in order to scare the beasts away from my feeders. He has wished for a slingshot or a pellet gun, but he knows I’m not keen on the thought of him injuring the fluffy-tailed critters. Last week he suggested that he would like a device that would produce a hawk-scream at the touch of a button. Now THAT I was willing to try. (Here comes the engineering tie-in)…

I bought this Bluetooth outdoor speaker from Amazon. My thought was that he could keep an iPod touch handy with recorded hawk sounds, and play them through the speaker which I planned to hang outside near the feeding station. He wasn’t happy with the idea, because he didn’t want to have to “fiddle around with the iPod”… he just wanted to push a button. They actually do make things like that for hunting or woodpecker deterrent, but they are very expensive, and only do the one thing. For $20, I thought my idea was more practical.

In the end, my experiment was not very successful. The speaker will run on six AA batteries, but I found that the batteries died very quickly, perhaps due to extreme cold or maybe I had some bad batteries in the mix. Furthermore, while the hawk screech worked the first time or two, after a while the squirrels just glanced over at the speaker, looked around the sky, then kept on chowing down. Meanwhile, the prettiest birds were quite successfully scared away by the hawk-screech. Experiment over!


Personally, I fill my feeders for the pleasure I get from the various visitors… and the squirrels often provide high entertainment value. Also, it’s good exercise, having to stand up occasionally to rap on the window and wave my arms around so that my cardinal can take his turn in his dish.

Here’s a picture of some of this year’s ravenous rodents. There were two more on the ground when this picture was taken. Aw, c’mon… they’re CUTE!

Peg Goter – Newsletter Editor

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