Sunday, November 28, 2010


Dear Squirrels and Raccoons,

I'm sorry. I accused you falsely. But you have to admit: the circumstantial evidence was plentiful.

Squirrel, do you remember the day I looked out the window and found you curled up inside the "squirrel-proof" bird feeder, merrily chewing away at the goodies within? And aren't you the critters that march like furry tanks across the seeds spread on the deck railing, leaving a trail of shattered and  empty shells in your wake?

And raccoons: really, can you blame me for being a little suspicious, when "search and destroy" seems to be your motto? Remember the suet feeder? You took it. Not the suet, oh no! You took the WHOLE FEEDER from its chain on the porch. We did find it, you know, months later, in the crawl space under the house.  Its little door was pried open, and the suet was long gone. I don't even want to think about the hummingbird feeder. It wasn't enough that you had to open it and drink it dry: you pulled off the little yellow flower-shaped wasp-guards, too. We never did track down the last two.

Because of this history we have, little mammals, you can understand why I thought of you when the peanut feeder went empty so fast. Less than 4 hours to completely run out of unshelled peanuts? There's NO WAY mere birds could do that.

Except... Shouldn't there have been empty shells on the ground under the feeder? You two tend to dine in, rather than resort to carry-out. And, now that I think of it, the emptying was done during the day, which doesn't sound like Mr. Raccoon.

Who, then? It was clearly time for clandestine surveillance.


I see that I underestimated the persistence and tenacity of our brash titmice. When a bird swoops in and removes a nut roughly every 60 seconds, the feeder goes empty quite fast, actually.

So, raccoons and squirrels, I offer my sincere apologies for accusing you unjustly.
Even though you had it coming.



  1. Wonderful!
    Does this portend a colder-than-average winter?

  2. joan, I'd say it portends a less-hungry-than-average bird.

  3. Hilarious! What a delightful missive. And I'm not one bit surprised. Titmice never cease to impress and surprise me.

  4. Four hours is a good long time! In mid-Michigan, I warn everyone that the peanut feeder is a "fill-when-you-wanna-watch" feeder. It's usually empty within an hour.

    It was great fun to impress everyone on Thanksgiving with the whole peanut feeder. The birds (Blue Jays, chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, cardinals and more) finished eating before we did.

    Poor squirrelies!

  5. WBU, that's really interesting. I have blue jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, and cardinals, but only the titmice take any.

  6. Joy, love your post and your perspective. I put out a single scoop of peanuts in the shell every day, so that everyone can have a snack. Usually no-one is able to hog it all - they seem to know when I put it out and they all dart in to snag a few peanuts. Titmice crack me up because their beaks are usually too small to carry a peanut in the shell. Usually they will peck a hole into the shell to gain a better grasp before flying off with the peanut.

  7. I guess I have strange birds, because no one but the titmice seem to give a flip about unshelled peanuts.

    Shelled ones, though, they'll argue over.

  8. Ha...they're spoiled! Or mine just have to take what they can get.

    I like the peanuts in the shell because they are "individually wrapped," and pretty well guarded against rain. I've got titmice, cardinals, blue jays, crows, occasional harry and red-bellied woodpeckers, & squirrels who all drop in to nab a peanut, shells and all. I love to watch them through my kitchen window.

  9. Joy, what an amusing post. Raccoons and squirrels pretty much always have it coming, when it comes to stealing food. But little old titmice? I'm crazy abt them, but didn't realize they were such peanut gluttons. Enjoy!

  10. Thank you so much for that! It was so fun to read - still laughing!