Squirrel Talk with Jan, Vol 1.

Squirrel Appreciation Day 2020

In my job I get a lot of questions about bird feeders, our company’s social mission and the occasional one about bird species or habitat (which, I’m not going to lie, I rarely know the answer to; so, heads up if you’re thinking of asking me, I’ll just be a disappointment) but, here’s the question that always comes up when someone who feeds birds learns I own a bird feeder company:

“Are your feeders squirrel-proof?” (Ha! Like that’s a thing).

Just spend 10 minutes on YouTube and watch the elaborate ways and extreme measures ‘bird lovers’ have taken to keep squirrels out of their bird feeders. THEN you will understand why humans can figure out how to play golf on the moon, but they canNOT keep squirrels out of bird feeders.

The number one reason Mr. Canary doesn’t promote squirrel-proof feeders is that almost 100% of the time (probably is 100%, but I’m being generous) those anti-squirrel contraptions don’t keep squirrels out…but they DO interfere with actually SEEING any birds. That said, if you prefer seeing beautiful birds and nature through prison bars, squirrel-proof feeders may be for you!

It’s funny, you know, birds don’t seem to mind squirrels a bit. They hang around in the same area eating together like they’re at some theme-café. Occasionally you might notice an annoyed look from some Mean-Girl birds when Jumbo the Squirrel thuds onto the feeder scene; but it doesn’t cause them to leave the area or quit eating. Somehow, birds and squirrels – different in so many ways, but members of the same Nature zip code – manage to live in the same area…and share the same food. Without controversy or barricade, they simply co-exist.

Only PEOPLE resist the idea of birds and squirrels sharing food, which, is kinda ironic, isn’t it?  The top-of-the-food-chain-nonmember-of-either-species genus (aka, ‘people’) can’t tolerate the idea of lesser living things, like birds and squirrels, sharing food. I don’t get it. We commit to the idea of experiencing the wonder of nature, then right away we have to start making exceptions to the way it runs itself? What’s up with that?

But, I could be wrong.

Maybe humans should set the rules of nature, I mean, it’s hard to argue with all the success we’ve enjoyed through the ages with our judgy-ness, preconception and discriminatory practices, right? Maybe it’s time we join together and firmly impose our rules on the lower rungs of the food chain, you know, decide which species really are worthy of living on our planet.

Or MAYBE we could check our egos and let Nature show US how every living thing needs every living thing – even when – or maybe ESPECIALLY when –  we can’t discern the particular need. What if, instead of seeing squirrels as the birding anti-christ, we could just consider the fact that we’re all part of the same natural neighborhood and we all need to eat. THEN, maybe our First Rule for Feeding Everything could be this:

SHARE FOOD WITH EACH OTHER. No Exceptions.

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day.  #DontBeAHater

Author: Jan Long

Published: January 21, 2020

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