Forgot to re-stock birdseed while grandson here to help, proud of accomplishing it on my own. The kid at the feed store put the 40-pound bags in the car. Back home I brought out the Rollator that makes a good cart, levered the bags onto it, wheeled it out to the big padlocked (raccoons) storage can. Nudged the bags over to the can, stabbed them open and let them pour out. Refilled the feeder, re-hung it high under the overhang where the squirrels can’t reach, a difficult and scary procedure – afraid of losing my balance.
Within an hour a deer – a stag, came and emptied the whole thing. So off to the Expensive Bird Store to ask about deer-proof feeders. They suggested a little bottle of pepper oil ($11.95) to be mixed with the seeds. “Birds have no salivary glands, I promise you it won’t bother them.” So I went over to Wegmans and bought a $1.85 bottle of Texas Hot Sauce.
Home to google Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology and “There have been no studies” on pepper. All those PhD students, all those bird stores selling pepper suet cakes, and nobody ever wrote for a grant? Cornell just says they “can’t recommend pepper in bird seed”.
Found a hoe in the garage, went out back and mixed Texas Hot Sauce with the seeds. Refilled the feeder. Assuming squirrels will no longer be interested, jiggled a long s-hook extender up in the overhang. Can now hang the feeder lower without risking a fall.
So far so good. No squirrels, no deer. That huge tribe of voracious English sparrows has descended, but if I’m poisoning them (there is vinegar in the hot sauce) no love lost. I don’t think they’re on the protected list