My daughter put together a birdhouse a year or so ago, and last month she talked my dad into hanging it up in our back yard. Like everything, she had very specific instructions for him. "It has to be hanging on the branch of tree. Use some rope or a chain. Then we need bird seed for it."
My dad obliged, but he decided that putting bird seed in it wasn't the best of ideas. Instead he bought a "squirrel proof" bird feeder to hang next to it. Apparently the term "squirrel proof" was over exaggerated because before the end of the week Alex and I came home and found it in fine condition, laying on the ground, the seeds gone. It looked like they had lowered the thing gently to the ground, undone the bolt that held the top on, carried the seeds off and then replaced the top. The only problem was that, whoever was in charge of holding the screw didn't do a good job. It seems they had lost it. Probably a young boy squirrel who set it down while he attempted to brake his latest hacky sack record, and then lost track of where he had put it. Still, the lid had been propped up on the feeder. I guess they were hoping we wouldn't notice the missing part.
My dad was mad. "How could they?" he asked. Not in a "I can't believe squirrels are that industrious tone. More in an "How dare they" kind of way. I don't get it. I have heard stories of people fussing about squirrels taking the food they indented for birds and how upset they were. Why? Why is it fun to give birds free food and not squirrels. Maybe if we had squirrels feeders they wouldn't feel the need to crawl into our attics.
Personally, I like the rodents a lot better than their feather counter parts. For one, I have never found squirrel poop on my newly washed car. For another... they much more social. I have a feeling that with the rise of "squirrel proof" feeders, a group of the smartest squirrels pulled their resources and started a think tank. They have devised and elaborate underground facility where prototypes of these feeders are analysed and tested for any and all weaknesses. The information is then compiled, and easy to read diagrams are drawn up. The information is passed on to all squirrel communities who subscribe to the service. There is probably a membership fee of 10 acorns a month, or 100 acorns a year. I say good for them! They are using smart, organized tactics to get the point across that squirrels need food too!
UPDATE: Since posting the above I have found that there are people (on the Internet) who are firm believers in what they call "Squirrel Hazing." Ever wonder why that squirrel decided to fun across the street just as you drove by? Or stole your bird feeder out of your tree? The answer my friends is that they are young squirrels trying to be excepted in the 'in crowd.' Like the hazing that goes on in frats and sororities, these squirrels dare to do the ridiculous to prove that they are worthy of the appreciation of the mindless. I would rage on them more, but they are squirrels after all. I'm not sure I buy the hazing idea. I would say its an idea conceived by frat boys, but I don't think they think that much. Still, I do think it is all part of an elaborate game of truth or dare.