By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hello, Hillsboro: Free food sparks a backyard war
squirrel backyard cafe
This hungry squirrel, a regular customer of the backyard caf, enjoys grabbing a snack from a special feeder where hes welcome and doesnt have to convince anybody that hes actually a bird. - photo by Jack Knowles photo

Regular visitors to this column may remember a while back when I reported an old family tale about one of my very young nieces who lectured her father after seeing him use a BB gun to hit a big squirrel in the butt.

In his defense, he was teaching the squirrel a lesson about eating seed out of a backyard feeder that was meant for our feathered friends, which he explained to her.

I have never forgotten her retort to him that the hungry intruder had no way of knowing it wasn’t a squirrel feeder.

That’s a tough point to argue, and it was one of the few times in my life that I actually saw my big brother speechless. I’m not certain, but I think the BB gun was put away for a long time.

I thought about that incident when I walked onto my porch a few days ago and saw a hungry, neighboring squirrel taking much more than his share out of our backyard bird feeder. This bushy-tailed thief also appeared to be an experienced trapeze artist and enjoyed the swinging as much as the eating.

Not being a hunter looking to fill his squirrel limit like my brother, I politely pointed out to the trespasser that he happened to be within about 10 feet of a homemade squirrel feeder that was a heck of a lot closer to the ground and far more inviting than a feeder that was obviously meant to be used by something with a pair of wings attached.

He simply leaped to a nearby branch and raced up a tree, causing plenty of seed to fall on the ground for birds who were too tired or lazy to fly up for their food.

The squirrel feeder was my own idea and is only used for the very best “salted in the shell” peanuts.

It is easily accessed by neighboring squirrels, although I’ve recently petitioned the local yard commissioner for permission to install a sign that states “No Birds, Rats, or Mice Allowed.”

However, the bird population is still angry about the continuing squirrel invasion of their seed feeders. And, trust me, they mean business.

Monday, I saw a huge, avenging crow proudly strutting around the yard with a large peanut in his mouth.

Wonder if he knew enough to remove the shell?