The Button Box


The photo above was taken about 5 years ago with a squirrel resting after the feeder was empty. Guess he was waiting on more to appear or for me to bring more out. They know who fills them and are not very afraid of me or my husband when we go out and go from one feeder to the next. They will sit in the trees and watch.
I went out yesterday afternoon to put a little extra in the feeders because they keep saying that the weather is going to get nasty. Most of the feeders were empty when I went out and I put just a little more in each one of them.
The box in the picture has a clear plastic shield that holds the seed in with just a small space at the bottom to let it slide out onto the tray. Well it used to have a small space but the squirrels have chewed on it and the space is now big enough for one to lay under it or for me to slide my hand into the box to see if there are any sunflower seeds in the back of the box. The shield is not clear anymore but has turned opaque with the sun hitting it all these years so I can’t see if there is seed left at the back of the box.
I always run my hand into the feeder to bring out any seeds that are stuck in the back and then add just a little more as a treat for them. I went out yesterday to check on the feeders and to give them just a little more for the evening. When I slid my hand back into the box to see if there was any seed I could rake out onto the tray I got a real surprise. My fingers touched something in the back of the box.
Before I could think about touching something in the feeder, there was a big racket in the box and I thought it was going to come off the pole. Next thing I knew a squirrel came flying out of the top of the feeder like a jack in the box. The lid banged against the pole and that didn’t help his state of mind or my pounding heart.
He jumped off the open feeder and onto the fence behind the pole. I have never heard a squirrel make so much noise running down the wooden fence but he was really making tracks with his tail acting as a rudder to keep him balanced on the top of the fence. When I looked to see where he was he was at the north corner of the yard and the end of our fence. He’d made that 60 foot run in just a few seconds.
But he didn’t stop at the end of our fence he just kept running north along the neighbor’s wooden fence. I wonder how far he ran before he realized that nothing was chasing him. I bet his little heart was beating really fast as he ran down the fence. He probably thought the devil was after him when my fingers touched him.
I would love to know what the conversation was when he was with all the other squirrels later that day. I am sure he told them to be wary of that feeder and the beast that almost got him. We have at least 8 or 10 if not more that make a regular visit to the 6 feeders in the yard.
They have to share the feeders with all the northern birds that come to visit each winter. I can’t even estimate how many Juncos and Harris capped sparrows and Pine Siskins we have each winter along with our local birds. But the squirrels always take over the feeders when they are in the yard. The birds are left to be the clean up crew on the ground and eat out of the tube feeder the squirrels can’t use.
There is never a dull moment in our backyard with all the birds that visit and the squirrels that use the feeders and especially when there is a squirrel in the box eating his share and the birds share of the sunflower seeds. To contact Sandy: [email protected]


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