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My Squirrels–Friends or Foes?

When I was a little girl, (a long time ago) we rarely saw squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, etc. I think there had been an epidemic of distemper that destroyed a lot of smaller wild animals. At any rate, it was a treat if we happened to see any small wildlife around the farm.

We often saw skunks, porcupines, etc. which were pests to be avoided, but we were delighted to see the occasional rabbit that hopped into our yard and I would panic when our German Shepherd, Silver, went after them and sent them scrambling. Perhaps that is why I loved seeing little critters in my yard. It seemed like such a thrill when I was a child.

Now we have an abundance. They have been enjoying my garden since we lost our golden retriever, Winchester, to old age. He used to keep our yard and garden safe from the little predators who loved my fresh veggies.

Private War

Let me tell you about my private war with five gray squirrels who have discovered that a fresh supply of black oil sunflower seeds, is just what they need to have a happy home in our giant Hungarian spruce tree in the front yard. But we need to go back a little, I should start with the cute little red squirrel who kept me company last Summer.

Since I don't get out and about, very well any more, I spent a lot of sunny days on my front deck, right beside that beautiful tree.  At first I thought the little creature was a chipmunk, but realized the difference after a few days. Mr. Red Squirrel, loved to sit on the deck railing and chatter at me while I was enjoying my book. When I mentioned him to my children, they said I'd better watch him or he'd be in the house chewing on the wiring.  However, he was really cute and seemed pretty innocent. I'm not exactly sure, what happened, but he disappeared. (My kids wouldn't have disposed of him without telling me would they??)

At any rate, we all know that this 2015 Winter, has been long and cold, and I had no need to get outside; so I spent a lot of time in a very comfortable chair, right beside my kitchen window, where I can read my books, watch the birds at the feeder, the cattle and horses across the road and the limited amount of traffic that goes by on House Road in the Winter.

One day I noticed a big fat Gray squirrel who would run across the railing and jump easily onto the big wooden feeder, or the hanging wire feeder and eat until he was full.  Then with stuffed cheeks he would disappear into the tree.

I still had an abundance of birds who didn't seem to mind sharing; there were the finches, the Juncos, all kinds of sparrows, Mourning Doves, Woodpeckers, Blue Jays and, of course, dozens of Chickadees. It was costing a lot for birdseed and they didn't seem to like anything but the black oil seeds, but I decided the enjoyment I got from bird and Mr. Gray Squirrel watching, was worth it.

Then in early March, I realized the feeders were going down really fast, and one day I saw two squirrels feeding at the same time.

Now one squirrel looks pretty much like another so I decided that there must have been two all Winter, but a few days later I saw a squirrel on each feeder and three squirrels on the ground.  Also, they were getting a little aggressive about chasing the birds away. I realized something had to be done, but not sure just how to do it. I didn't want them hurt or killed but I wanted them out of my feeders. What to do??

Possible Solution

I mentioned to Trish, (one of my daughters) that I wished I had a Nerf gun, like her girls used to play with and, don't you know, the next morning she brought me a shoe box with a Nerf gun and a lot of bright orange and yellow bullets that would surely scare the squirrels away without hurting them. I was excited! Now I could solve my problem myself. But I never realized how smart squirrels are. They learn very quickly.

The first morning that I saw them on the feeder I tried to open the window and they were gone like a shot. I closed the window and waited, but it happened the same way, every time. By late afternoon they had figured that the window opening didn't hurt, so they just kept on feeding.

Aha! Now I had my chance. I opened the window, took careful aim, but didn't allow for the wind and the dart sailed six inches in front of him. But the click of the gun and the dart flying-by scared Mr. Squirrel, and he ran off again.

I tried several more shots, but couldn't hit him and he was starting to get used to the sound of the gun and the darts that were flying all around him, but never touching him. By then it was starting to get dark so I shut the window and gave up. When Son, Kenny, came in to visit after chores that night, I saw a grin on his face as he picked up my darts from the lawn and brought them in to me – but I don't give up easily. (Neither do squirrels).


It was rainy and windy the next day, so I couldn't open the window, but the following day I was ready. It wasn't windy at all so I didn't have to worry about the breeze carrying the darts, but I soon realized that it wasn't the fault of the wind, I just didn't seem to be able to aim right so the war went on most of the day.

I didn't tell my children, but I went out and picked up my ammunition a couple of times that afternoon and I 'm pretty sure I heard the squirrels chuckling (or whatever that sound is that squirrels make). Anyway, I think it was son, Bob, who picked up the last volley of ammo when he tended the horses that night.

It was pretty cold the next day and I decided that the reason I couldn't aim properly was because my hands were shaking with the cold, so I decided to try keeping my hand inside, where it was warmer, and shooting from inside the open window. That's when I found-out why the squirrels didn't worry about the darts. I hardly felt it when the dart that bounced off the inside of the window casing hit me right between the eyes.

By this time my children were coming up with all kinds of solutions. They were all getting a big chuckle about Mom and her squirrel wars. Son Joe was going to aim his water balloon launcher up here and blast them. Son-in-law Turk offered his bottle rockets (he had used them to get rid of Canada Geese)

New Strategy

Then I tried a new strategy. I left the window open, even though I was losing heat and burning precious heating oil. I was determined! I wanted the wicked little critters to come closer to the window so the darts would hit harder. I sat quietly reading my book and had nearly forgotten the squirrels. (It was a good book). All of a sudden I heard scratching right outside my window. There sat Mr. Squirrel in the Azalea bush right outside the window, about a foot and a half from my face, glaring at me with his beady little black eyes. Without a second thought I reached and slammed the window shut. I think that critter was coming after me!

Soon I was having trouble sleeping, lying awake nights plotting and planning ways to scare the little monsters away. I even had one really nice dream where Cardinals, Blue Jays, Goldfinches and Grosbeaks were clustered around my feeders and the squirrels were just standing there looking at them, held at bay by my deadly Nerf gun.

I decided to try one more day, and if that didn't work, I would give up. Mr. Squirrel was sitting in the big wood feeder on his haunches stuffing seeds in his mouth. I aimed carefully but the dart sailed over his head. He didn't flinch. I aimed again and the dart bounced off the wooden feeder only an inch or so from his feet. He never flinched. Aiming again I shot one last time. I hit him broadside! Direct hit! Close range!

I couldn't believe it! He just kept stuffing his cheeks. I guess I'm down to my last resort...








By Nancy Bond

Nancy Bond began writing in high school 60+ years ago, but then family life took hold, as she and her husband Leo raised twelve children, on their farm in the town of Clayton. It was only recently that Nancy began writing her memories on paper, for her children to enjoy. The Thousand Islands Museum persuaded her to share these memories with the “Thousand Islands Sun” and now with “TI Life” for all to enjoy.    Click here for Nancy’s other articles.

Posted in: Nature
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Comment by: Peggy
Left at: 10:37 AM Saturday, May 16, 2015
Another fun story Mom. You need to add an epilogue, telling about your birthday present and how you finally got rid of them.
Comment by: BOB T
Left at: 6:02 PM Saturday, May 16, 2015
Somebody should have given you a straw and a lb. of dried peas.
Cathy Perry
Comment by: Cathy Perry
Left at: 7:06 PM Saturday, May 16, 2015
Another good story Nancy !! Please do follow up with the solution to getting them away from the feeder...
Comment by: Donna
Left at: 8:05 PM Saturday, May 16, 2015
Thanks for sharing your stories Nancy. I really enjoy reading them. Oh and I would really like to know how you go rid of them.
Connie Bond
Comment by: Connie Bond
Left at: 9:23 PM Saturday, May 16, 2015
The solution also worked well for humans too lol I love your adventures!
sue taylor
Comment by: sue taylor
Left at: 2:24 PM Sunday, May 17, 2015
Aunt Nan,,,another great story,,, love them,,,better get them boys on a mission lol love to all sue
sue t
Comment by: sue t
Left at: 2:28 PM Sunday, May 17, 2015
Aunt Nan love your stories,,,how did you finally get rid of them????Joe bring heavy equipment over lol love to all Sue
Comment by: Melody
Left at: 7:59 PM Sunday, May 17, 2015
Hilarious, Mom!! Loved it.
Nancy Bond
Comment by: Nancy Bond ( )
Left at: 1:05 PM Monday, May 18, 2015
The story of how I finally got rid of the little pests is really another whole story..(and I didn't actually get rid of them) May third was my 82nd birthday and as usual. it was occasion for a big Bonderosa party. The weather was perfect, so we had a cookout on the front lawn. not too surprisingly, the first gift I received was a battery operated water gun that would squirt half way across the lawn. We already had a supply of smaller ones, and someone (I won't say who) shot the first spray at a Great Grandson and the war was on. As the day went by and probably 50 or 60 Bonds of varying ages cavorted on the lawn, and up the tree, and around the house etc, the squirrels took cover and I could hear them chattering up in the tree.
It was a day or two later that I realized that they weren't around any more and I thought the problem was solved, but gradually they started back. My new gun was just the ticket though, so I persisted in firing at one squirrel after another. Then a couple of days ago I sprayed a persistent squirrel half a dozen times and he finally took off, but.....oh no!! he headed right across the road and narrowly escaped getting hit by a car..
I think the squirrels have finally won. I don't want them to be road kill.

Kyle Petersen
Comment by: Kyle Petersen
Left at: 9:20 PM Sunday, May 24, 2015
Although not needed now, if you hold the trigger lightly, there is a laser that will come out. Don't squeeze the trigger all the way, just lightley. However it may be in need of a battery replacement. I have several of those guns myself.