Thursday, March 08, 2007

Time In A Bottle

What we have here is a squirrel at the crowing moment of his seed-stealing career. What isn't clear is whether it is the height of laziness or the peak of cleverness.

Just to be clear as to what we are looking at. One of our bird feeders consists of a metal perch screwed onto the neck of a soda bottle. It comes in a kit. The theory behind it is that since the squirrels are going to destroy pretty much any object that separates them from food - why not use plastic bottles that are on their way to the recycling bin to temporarily hold the birdseed.

(If you think of recycling as a form of reincarnation for inanimate objects then allowing the bottle to sacrifice itself in this way probably gives it bonus points towards its next level of existence - perhaps as one of those un-openable clamshell packages. Or if it is really lucky as a recycled plastic fiber sweater for Salma Hayek.)

Over the past twenty or so years we've gone through five or six of the perches - somehow the rod on which the bird is to roost breaks off - and about one thousand five hundred sixty polymer containers. This is a never-ending problem for Mars and me who are not soda drinkers. Thank goodness for family and friends who are.

The latest one lasted three days. Usually we use the large one-liter soda bottles but being out of them we substituted a smaller quart-sized one. Normally the squirrels, whose bodies are about one liter long, hang upside down along the length of the seed decanter and suck the seeds out of the opening in the perch.

With the shorter bottle one of them apparently thought that a more direct approach through the feeder top (bottle bottom) was more efficient.

Maybe he disliked al fresco dining - it was a mighty cold and windy day.

Maybe polymer is a good source of fiber, for squirrels anyway. We never have found any bottle bits or pieces on the ground under the scene of decimation.


By the end of the day the bottom of the feeder was filled with the hulls of husked sunflower kernels and the gray raider and his cohorts had returned to their warm and snuggly nests.

I replaced the violated vessel - this time with a liter sized one that was formerly filled with seltzer drunk solely for that purpose. I was glad to do it. At least for a few hours I won't have to worry about rescuing a trapped squirrel that is freaked out from spending too much time in a bottle.

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