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I have to confess that I am spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing about squirrels.

These are not just any old squirrels. These are fat, greedy, and totally disrespectful gray squirrels who insist on taking over every bird feeder I have in the yard. Nothing gets my blood moving like a gang of them chowing down on suet, seeds, crabapples and anything else they can get their grubby paws on.

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One kitchen window in particular has become the focus of my attention. It looks out on seven feeders and also happens to be the place where I have breakfast in the morning. No sooner does the sun come up and there they are, a brazen mob of five to seven of these devils daring to out-think me.

It’s bad enough that I already take down the feeders every night because of raccoons, but as soon as I hang them back up in the morning, I have these gangsters here in broad daylight trying to hustle me. Is there no decorum anymore?

What Miss Manners school did they attend?

Gray squirrels have no scruples about stealing food meant for birds.
Gray squirrels have no scruples about stealing food meant for birds. (Cori Brown Photo)

Right now, I am winning most of the skirmishes but that definitely doesn’t mean I am winning the war. While I may have the tube feeders safely secured with their precious cargo of sunflower seeds, the same cannot be said for the suet feeder.

Suet is one of the most nutritious things you can feed birds in winter. Obviously, the squirrels could give two hoots about the birds when they can have it all for themselves. When they start to move in on the suet, I see red!

It’s as if they are throwing down the gauntlet and daring me to stop them.

I cannot even count how many times I have “strategically” moved the suet to get one up on them. Meanwhile, the mere fact that I have strategically moved it so many times tells you something. All they see is this gray-haired maniac lady running out of the door yelling and screaming bloody murder. Better yet, one day this same gray-haired lady will break her hand from pounding so hard on the window to try to scare them away.

Haha, they laugh right in her face, because she is obviously a total nut case!

Yes, I should attend Squirrels Anonymous every week to get my hostile behavior under control, but I am too busy trying to outsmart them to have time for silly kumbaya, touchy-feely meetings like that.

Meanwhile, back at strategic command at the kitchen table, I now devised not one, but two baffles on the suet feeder. They hang on not one, but three long hooks, with lots of space in between. Now I can watch with elation as these juvenile delinquents slide like ice cream drips down a cone and plunk to the ground below.

Yippee-skippee, Christmas has come early as I watch the aeronautic displays with joy in my heart (I grudgingly admit they have some excellent Simone Biles-esque displays of twisting and turning and always manage to stick their landings). In less than 15 minutes I watched the same squirrel zip down, do multiple loop de loops, hit the ground eight times, and scurry off with his dignity barely intact. My heart is singing!

And then it happens. That same squirrel has now grown devil horns and scurries over to the tree next door. No more top down attempts for him. From there, he prepares his jet fueled air routine, as he races across a branch and flings himself horizontally across the gap. Bang, he nails it right on to the suet and lustily digs in with all paws on deck. Unbelievable.

This gray squirrel may be eating crabapples, but he loves bird seed even more.
This gray squirrel may be eating crabapples, but he loves bird seed even more. (Cori Brown Photo)

I shake my head in disgust. In fact, I am so disgusted that I don’t even want to eat my breakfast of cookies and hot chocolate (this is truly a serious situation). This bold move shall not go unanswered!

Out come the pruners. Yes, I am about to do the unthinkable. I am going to cut down the offending launch pad branch and fill the gap with nothing but pure whooshing air.

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And there you have it. The sound of air is like a lullaby to my ears. My heart slows down, my breathing is barely a whisper, my mind revels in triumph. A full 24 hours has passed since my pruning stroke of genius. Peace reigns in the land. Namaste, squirrel, until the next time, and I have no doubt there will be a next time! I can already see the smoke rising from your busy brain.

As they say in chess, it’s your move!

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