A Dilly of a Pickle

Today was a full day of errands. I had KARE 11 this morning, a few things to straighten out at the bird store, worked with Stan Tekiela (pictured right) on our 2007 bird calendars (can I say how weird it is to be working calendars for 2007 when it's only 2005? IT'S WEIRD! Thanks) and got groceries. After Stan and I got as much work done as we could on the 2007 calendars we sat down and autographed some of the 2006 calendars. Incidentally, if anyone would like to purchase an autographed Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan bird calendar, give us a call at the bird store (952-473-4283) and we will ship them out. Stan's photos are worth the price of the calendars alone, my part in the project are all the bird attracting tips, trivia, birding festivals and an average expected bird list for each month (the list was Non Birding Bill's idea).

I came home hoping to relax but find myself in a dilly of a pickle. A squirrel had landed on my window ledge and unable to gain access to the bounty of sunflower chips in my feeder, decided to invade my bedroom where I store my seed in a plastic container. Said squirrel chewed its way in (see damage above) and peed all over the window. There are now large holes in the screen and I really don't know what to do. Part of the problem is that the catalpa tree outside the bedroom window is in dire need of a trim but who knows if the apartment building will be doing that this year. I have holes in my screens which need to be repaired and I will have to do so on the sly. If I ask building maintenance to take care of it they will probably just tell me to quit feeding birds, which would mean we would have to move and I hate moving. Besides, we just painted last summer and we have a divinely deep old bathtub that I cherish after long bird trips in the winter.

On a side note, as I'm typing this there is the baldest cardinal I have ever seen feeding on the feeder right now. I would take a picture, but at 8:50pm it's just too dark. Oh man, he really looks like Zippy the Pinhead...oops, I digress.

So, I'm not sure how to deal with the squirrel. It just got plain cocky today. As I was picking up after its mess it was spying on me (pictured above). Isn't that a frightening photo? I feel very Single White Female all of a sudden. Will Non Birding Bill come home one day to find me tied to a chair with this little critter at my feet dressed like me wielding a kitchen knife? We have some live traps at the store for when squirrels find their way in and hope to live off the back room. I have mixed feelings about the live trapping thing, I don't like killing an animal that is just trying to make it's way in the world, but by the same token if a squirrel were trying to move into any other animal's home that was bigger than it, that animal would kill it and eat it. I know there's the option of relocating a squirrel (which isn't a permanent solution to keeping squirrels out of your yard, as soon as one is taken out another moves in, I'm hoping in my case the new guy won't know how to get in my apartment) but putting a squirrel in unfamiliar territory can be a death sentence as there may not be enough food and shelter for extra squirrels so the relocated squirrels has to fight for territory and avoid predators in an unfamiliar territory, that seems unfair. However, I do know of a couple of places that willingly feed squirrels...would city squirrels survive in the country?

The squirrel is getting entirely too freaky, something will have to be done. When you look at the photo below, imagine Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector saying, "You feed black oil sunflower mixed lightly with safflower and the occasional cashew...but not today."