I am convinced that I live in a neighborhood where the local wildlife have engineering degrees, do weight lifting, and roam at night with tool belts loaded with enough equipment that they can dismantle anything.
My desire was to leave out some food for the birds that would be appreciated and consumed at a reasonable rate. I looked forward to watching this occur. This was not the case as our community allowed animals to exist whose sole purpose in life was to thwart whatever means I had to restrict and provide that feeding.
The set up that we had in our backyard had been a hanging feeder with seeds and a feeder on a pole. We had a tree stump in the back where I attached a squirrel feeder to hold squirrel logs of compressed corn. For the most part that seemed to work fine. Over time the stump continued to decay and be a nuisance in the middle of our backyard, the pole feeder got in the way of our access to the backyard and also left a bare spot on the ground below it. The hanging feeder began to show its age so we took all the feeders down. All was quiet for a while, but we had liked the sight of all those birds in our backyard.
I made a more sturdy squirrel feeder and moved it further back in the yard on a tree that was at the edge of our property, allowing me to eventually take down the stump. We got a more decorative hanging feeder, supposedly squirrel proof and bought some suet blocks of bird food to be put in a hanging suet feed holder we had. We had thwarted animals getting at our food in the past, so we foolishly believed that we could do it again.
It was time for our well educated and tooled beasts to come into our yard. The results – I can no longer fill the hanging feeder with food. Some strong animal, usually at night, comes to the feeder, lifts it up and shakes all of food out of it onto the ground. The feeder remains hung and stands empty and the birds, squirrels and deer can now come into the yard pigging out on all the food on the ground. This does not do much for the esthetic beauty of our backyard as now it is covered in seeds all over the place and a plentitude of deer poop.
The suet feeder took real ingenuity on the part of these creatures. First they clipped the chain link that held it onto the branch it was hanging from and then took the whole feeder, food and all. It took about a week or more before I found the feeder again, somewhere back in the woods. Since we had more blocks of suet I tried again. This time securing the chain and adding a stronger wire to hang the feeder. I needed pliers to close the links that would prevent them from unhooking it. I’m not sure what tool they used to again clip the chain and drop the feeder to the ground. This time they ate all the food, but left the feeder. My last block of suet was set into the feeder and this time I used a coat hanger with no chain and attached it to the tree. There was no way they were going to remove the feeder; and in fact they didn’t. This time they just opened the feeder and took the food out. I should note that I have trouble opening the feeder either to fill it or empty it. It had two snaps that were quite secure. My best guess is that they used a winch and a torch to open it.
It appears these well educated animals of the wild have won; or lost depending on whether you consider that they are not being fed anymore. The suet feeder is down and put away. The hanging feeder gets filled periodically as long as we still have food, but only a quarter of the way, since they tend to empty it anyway. The squirrel feeder will have corn logs put on them, but only periodically, since the squirrels tend to eat them within 2 days and we can’t afford to purchase that much food.
Until we can come up with a better plan, I guess the wildlife in our neighborhood will have to seek out other pastures. That is except the deer, since no matter what we’ve done since we’ve moved here, the deer feel that we have created a garden salad for them. When there is no bird food for them to nibble on, they manage to eat everything else we have planted, even if the reference books say that deer don’t eat those types of plants. But that is a whole other story.