Bird brain

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Now that my garden’s up and running, I figured it was time to take the next step in domestic outdoor activities. I ordered a birdfeeder from the amusingly named Droll Yankees company website, bought a shepherd’s hook out in New Jersey, and hung everything on a fencepost.

Not so fast, evidently. Here’s how things played out:

Phase one. My first hook wasn’t nearly long enough, and the squirrels had a lovely time hopping over from the fence and eating all the seed. Also, the birds weren’t very interested; they hung out in the tree behind our shed and didn’t approach the feeder.

Phase two. I went back and bought a longer hook and re-hung the whole contraption. A few days later, the birds discovered it. And a couple days after that, the squirrels figured out how to make the longer leap.

Phase three. My birdfeeder came with a small tray on the bottom to catch the seeds the birds spill as they eat (they’re very messy eaters!). It also gave the squirrels a nice place to land as they leapt over from the fence. Once I figured that out, I removed the tray, and the squirrels suddenly became much less adventurous. I can’t describe how satisfying it was to watch them try and fail to make the leap or better yet, to try to shimmy across the hook and dangle down over the feeder itself, which has a protective dome.

Nature: it’s an arms race.

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