By Mike Redmond
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue May 14, 2013, 03:49 PM EDT
The action at the bird feeder has been spectacular lately: Cardinals, finches, songbirds in impressive variety crowding around all day long in search of sustenance. It is truly gratifying …
For my neighbor.
That’s what it’s like at his feeder.
At mine? Different story. Sparrows and grackles, bird-wise. But the ones really doing the feasting are the squirrels… squirrels who are, I believe, noticeably fatter than when I started filling the feeder a month or so ago.
Did I mention that this is supposed to be a squirrel-proof feeder? There, my friends, are the three little words that make up the biggest lie in lawn and garden advertising: Squirrel-proof feeder. Simply put, there is no such thing. I don’t care if the feeder is topped with concertina wire and equipped with combination locks, the squirrels will figure out how to get into it. On mine, they actually figured out how to twist the knob that opens the top so they could dive into the seed bin head-first.
It would be amusing if it weren’t so maddening.
I thought about buying a nice, quiet pellet gun and using it to dispatch the greedy little twerps to squirrel heaven. This idea hit the floor with a thud, however, when it was pointed out that I was the one attracting them in the first place by filling the bird feeder. It would be unethical to lure them with peanut pieces and sunflower seeds and then pop them in the head when they weren’t looking. Besides, there are a lot of windows on that side of the house and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
I like squirrels, I really do. When I was a kid, we had a pet squirrel named Filbert who used to come to the back door every day for his treat, a peanut, an arrangement that was the talk of the neighborhood until Dad got the bright idea that he could hand-feed Filbert. Filbert took “hand feed” literally and bit Dad on the finger. Adios, Filbert.
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An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.
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