I am sitting at home awaiting the knock on the door. You see, I am a purveyor of the most addictive substance in the world. Mealworms. They are the crack of the animal world. Titmice, mockingbirds, and squirrels all throw themselves at the feeder just to partake of this wonderful food.
The knock I am awaiting? It is not law enforcement. Rather, I am waiting for the squirrel gang to figure out a way to pound on the door, letting me know the feeder is empty. The other day, when we had a proper mealworm feeder, I counted 5 squirrels plotting on how to reach the platform of luscious treats. While I wasn’t watching, the squirrels managed to tear off the feeder portion, leaving only the clear plastic roof. The same roof a squirrel landed on, only to slip off and fall down onto the Lenten rose below. Once I heard a squirrel land squarely on the metal railing around our porch. Anyway, they tore off the bottom of the feeder, and we have yet to find it. I have visions of squirrels conducting their version of a cargo cult, gathering around the feeder base in the woods, chanting to bring back the wondrous food.
This morning as we were enjoying our coffee and newspaper on the porch, I filled the makeshift feeder we now have. It was literally seconds before the first mockingbirds descended onto the feeder. Undoubtedly they were watching the feeder from above, awaiting the delivery of manna. A few minutes later, the flock of titmice arrived, skittering up to the feeder whenever a mockingbird was not present. It mattered not that we were sitting there, a few feet away from them. The siren call of the mealworms was all that mattered. Bird crack, addictive as hell.
One of the squirrel gang showed up, and he paid us no heed as he worked out a way to get onto the platform. Yes, he could look on the ground for those worms tossed overboard by messy bird eaters, but the mother lode was up there awaiting his arrival. He looked at us as though we were interlopers in his realm, and all we wanted to do was prevent his ascension into the garden of Eden. So what if we sat there watching him? That was not going to bother him one bit.
We will have to figure out a safe way for both birds and squirrels to have their feasts. Where we’ve set up the feeder now, we are seeing the plants in the adjacent planter destroyed from the acrobatics of the squirrels. Our wind chimes are at risk as they use them as trapeze platforms, trying to gain enough altitude to reach the promised land. Or they plop down from the roof, giving their all to hold onto the feeder without tumbling onto the ground below. Whatever we choose, we will enjoy watching the battles over our mealworm donations. And if we think we can just let the feeder run dry, let me ask you. Have you ever been cursed by both mockingbirds and titmice? It’s not a pleasant experience, I assure you.