hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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November 14, 2013

A bird feeder that serves another purpose

I enjoy feeding birds. A tour of my property will unveil the obvious. Feeders everywhere, from trees and clothes lines to hangers in obvious places.

Few pleasures excite me more than seeing my fine feathered friends flutter about like an Audubon society on the rise. No supermarket seeds for these fledglings. I buy them the good stuff — top shelf — at the specialty stores where I pay top dollar.

Like I said, they entertain me at each feeding.

The problem is this: They are forced to share company with the squirrels and chipmunks. And it’s often the bigger critters that get their way. I was determined to solve the problem with a squirrel-proof feeder.

Any additional weight on the perch would close the door, denying them access. I suspended it from the roof of my shed, away from any possible intruders. The only way to get there was to fly.

Yes, I’m aware of flying squirrels. You won’t find any around these parts, but rather the Appalachians.

So I approached my friendly dealer and purchased one that was guaranteed against squirrels. Problem solved? Not a chance.

Now I’m getting the chipmunks. No matter where I place my feeder, they’ll make the approach like a soldier on a reconnaissance mission. The other day, I stood watch at my kitchen window. All was well. A nuthatch was replaced by another, which gave way to a pair of yellow finches and on came my cardinals.

A blue jay was feeding from the ground next to a mourning dove and all were getting along just fine.

All of a sudden, I spotted a chipmunk from the corner of my eye. The vigilante hopped from a tree to the roof and gallantly made its way to my feeder. The birds scattered like a cat had come calling.

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