Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 02-106
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Where We Left Off:
Last case file, we revealed one of our most remarkable discoveries. An angel turned to stone or clay was buried in the yard. We excavated it but still aren’t sure why it was here.
The Squirrel with the Getaway Face
I asked myself, “Self, how many times can you possibly write about the thieving squirrels?” Answer: Until they stop stealing and vandalizing.
The woodland behind Bunny Hollow where the Supreme Court of Squirrels inhabited is close by and it would seem that the bird feeders would be tempting to all sciuridae. Not so. The SCOS do fine with the feeding stations and their natural scavenging. The thieving squirrels are coming from the north forest, Gnome Grove, and the giant maple tree in the middle of the yard. They’ve been stealing and destroying the bird feeders for months.
Honestly, Parker is so skilled that it’s astonishing, but she’s not the only culprit. If you’ve been following along, the green cage style feeder has been vandalized numerous times and it got to the point where the door was secured by two Master Locks. Gus and Oliver brainstormed (okay, mostly Oliver) about the engineering of the feeders and our own goals. We like the squirrels and don’t mind them feeding at the bird feeders at all. We would, however, prefer that they learn to share and not destroy the feeders.
Since March, we’ve done an experiment of sorts. Not a scientific approach — just a little observation game. The butler purchased a second feeder. It holds the same style cakes or bricks of seeds as the green wire cage style feeder. The roof, the perch/floor, and the sides are made of cedar. It seemed like a sturdy choice. The roof lifts off for birdseed brick insertion and then it’s is secured by a sliding clasp.
Both feeders were hung on branches of the Walden maple. Then it came time to wait and watch. The boys and I are fond of stakeouts. We learn so much. The only problem is, we have never managed to witness the break ins and destruction phase of the heists. What we mostly end up seeing are the squirrels’ different styles of eating from the feeders, how possessive one of them gets, and happy birds on the ground picking up the scraps knocked down.
Parker was elegant and strong in her approach. She hangs upside-down to scratch some of the seeds loose. Then she sits upright to enjoy the meal. I can’t get mad when she’s that adorable in her proper dining etiquette.
The other one — identity still unknown — would eat while upside-down. He was often chased from the tree by Parker if she didn’t feel like sharing the goods. One day though, she did pilfer and dine next to another squirrel in harmony which leads to me believe that was her friend Hardison. Since I was usually way back at the observation deck and watching through 60x sport binoculars, I’m not sure who the other squirrels were and why Parker was only nice to one of them.
When we first started filling only the one feeder — the cage one — Parker would work with a bunch of friends, the Leverage squirrels. She would hang upside-down and knock seeds to the ground for the gang to pick up. It was a system that seemed to make everyone happy. That’s why I was surprised that even with two feeders, there was someone Parker didn’t want in the tree while she was working.
I tried to befriend her, but that was impossible with Gus nearby. I placed peanuts in the crook of the tree so that she wouldn’t have to come down to the ground to eat. She has the ability to go upside-down and sideways on the tree trunk which is what she chose rather than lowering down to reach the peanuts and hanging out in a higher safer place. As soon as she spiraled around the tree, Gus was up there in a flash. I couldn’t believe how quick he was. He rarely climbs as high as the crook of tree. Poor Parker. She scaled the tree higher instead of trying to outrun Gus even though she easily can.
We need a better bird feeder system. The birds preferred the green wire cage feeder. The squirrels probably did too, but ate from both and destroyed both. No squirrels were harmed by Gus. All squirrels remain free and at large.