Bird Feeders, Squirrels and Kids

Bird feeder hanging from tree 2

After many tries, and threats of squirrel stew, I have decided that a bird feeder with seeds just is not for our family right now.  Birds have never shown up to eat from these feeders.  Our resident squirrels thank us for the buffet, though.

So, they were taken down earlier this summer.

On a day when I felt unusually optimistic, I took Jack and George with me to the hardware store with the promise that they could buy something with their money.  After I did my shopping (not finding what I was looking for) we spent the next HOUR looking for something for them, which they could get for under $5.

One of the items George was really interested in was a hummingbird feeder.  We had the “if you buy the feeder, you also need to buy the food” discussion.  Turns out he did not quite have enough and moved on to something else.  The seed was planted in my mind though: humming bird feeder = no seeds, no seeds = the squirrels won’t steal the food.

The purchase of a feeder was not high on my list, so I decided to be patient and wait for an end of season sale.  That is exactly what I found last month.  The boys were very excited to mix up the ‘nectar’ and hang up the feeder.  My husband asked if I was becoming my mother.  🙂  (She has about 10 feeders of various designs in her yard. The picture below is from her yard.)

bird feeders for gold finches

“It is close to the end of the season, boys.  We may not get any birds this year.  Just wanted to let you know there may not be any birds till next Spring.”  They were still okay with that, so the feeder was hung outside our dinning room window, awaiting a humming bird to bless.

George was been keeping an eye on the nectar level.  He was determined to see if a bird had visited while he was at school.  A few times he told me the level was going down.  Honestly, I was thinking it was evaporating.  As I did not know one way or the other, I agreed that it could have been a bird, which would have been “Awesome.”

Last week I kept seeing flashes of something out my window.  By the time I looked nothing was there.  “Maybe it was a car driving by?”  Then I caught sight of it … a humming bird!!

A few days later, while sitting down at supper, a humming bird landed on the shepherd’s hook that held the feeder.

“George,” I said calmly, “I want you to stand up and slowly go to the window.”  He was confused but complied.  As he was standing up I continued, “There is a humming bird sitting above the feeder.”

He almost jumped to the ceiling with excitement.  As we have 10 foot ceilings, that is saying a lot.  Jack almost hopped right from his chair to the window.

Of course, the bird flew away.

Smart bird.  I would have too.

As the days have passed, I have pointed out several times when a bird has flown to the feeder or away.  The boys have always missed it.

Last night, they got to see the bird!  Then they saw 2!  Then they saw them eating!  Then they saw them fighting!  Yes, that is a lot of exclamations points going on.

humming bird feeder

Changing over to a feeder that did not require a food source which the squirrels would  also eat was a great decision.  The main goal of having a feeder was for the boys/kids to get to see birds closer than just flying overhead.  They are learning to walk slowly towards the window to look, what birds eat and how to fill the feeders, as well as what does not work.

Do you have bird feeders at home?  I would be interested in hearing what you do to keep squirrels out, whether it be a certain design or other tip.



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