Monday, August 29, 2005

Fighting Squirrels a Sport? ESPN thinks so...

Fighting squirrels makes the news over at ESPN today. No, I don't mean squirrels decked out in tiny gloves (that'd be cool), or even a no-holds-barred Ultimate Fighting Championship squirrel bout (that'd be really cool!). I mean man vs. squirrel. If you have ever fought squirrels, you know this man's pain. My neighbors think I'm crazy because of the squirrels we have here on campus. We mostly have grey squirrels, with some black ones as well. I put bird seed on my window sill in the winter, and I live on the second floor. You might think that makes my seed safe, you'd be wrong. At first the squirrels would climb a nearby bush, and jump from the bush to the window sill (a span of 3 or so feet). So I modified the bush, smart man I am, cutting off the braches they favored for jumping, making the distance about a 5 foot jump. They still jumped, and to my disappointment did not fall the 15 or so feet to the ground below. I think they were pretending it was try outs for Cirque du Soleil. I took more off the bush, now greatly reshaping the backside of the bush. This was the middle of winter, so my neighbors might have been wondering a bit about this guy out pruning the only green thing in the area in sub zero weather. Eventually I did get enough off that they couldn't jump from the bush to the window sill. About a week later, I found a squirrel on my window sill again. The devious little bandit had taught himself to climb the brick wall. Only two of the 6 or 8 squirrels have learned how to do this, but the others are smart enough to know when the two are on the sill a lot of seed falls below. So I too resorted to Google to solve my problems. Hot pepper was the solution. So I bought the gigantic industrial size bottle of hot sauce. $1.99 for a lifetime supply of liquid fire. I started by just spicing up the snow at the base of the wall. Didn't phase them. So I began to apply it to the wall, but eventually it dries up or freezes, and they quit paying attention to it. So I decided to take it to a new level. I pulled out my Super-soaker, loaded it up for squirrel, and waited with the window unlocked. These squirrels had long since quit paying attention to me tapping on the window. The recognized me. They were laughing at me. I had to protect what little pride I had left. So up pops the first squirrel. I quietly pull off the window screen, and quickly turn the window crank and open fire. Squirrels don't like being sprayed with hot sauce. So now, each winter, I load up on hot sauce, and sit and wait. Every so often a neighbor would be walking in, and see me in the act. They always laugh. By the end of the winter, the corner of the building where I live smells like I imagine the kitchen of Buffalo Wild Wings smells like. I'm like squirrel Rambo. But it keeps them away. And it's fun. And I get to watch the birds, the Blue Jays, Cardinals, finches, sparrows, and others I couldn't even name. I especially like the Cardinals, there were 3 male/female pairs last spring feeding at my window. And the Blue Jay is fun to watch, even though he is a pig. I've never seen a bird eat that fast. And he's incredibly skittish. If he even suspects I'm watching he flies off. The Sparrows on the other hand will nearly eat out of my hand. They have such beautiful little feathers, with an iridescence if the light catches them just right.

Really, I like squirrels. I just don't like them robbing my seed. They can eat all the birds push to the ground, which is quite a bit. Try as I might, they just won't learn to use a fork. I go through almost a pound a day on the coldest days of winter, without the squirrels stealing any. With the squirrels on the ledge, I could double that amound, and not see any birds.

4 comments:

Paul Schafer said...

I have a picture of a fighting squirrel.

http://paulspicturesofstuff.blogspot.com/2005/08/squirrels.html

Bret Capranica said...

I can't imagine doing that to Hot Sauce!

mrclm said...

Paul,
I remember seeing your picture in a larger form before - is that actually a squirrel? I was thinking that was a prairie dog or something.

Bret,
That is why you use the stuff that is $1.99 per quart. No, I wouldn't waste good stuff. I appreciate a good hot sauce, but not the cheap stuff. All that is good for is gunning squirrels.

:-)

Paul Schafer said...

People are too ignorant to see the difference between squirrel and prairie dog, I linked ya anyways.