Saturday, February 28, 2009

Help Hungry Squirrels!

Here's the Problem (from USA Today)

Squirrels scrounge for acorns across USA

The small or non-existent acorn crops reported in many parts of the USA, though unexpected, reflect a natural cycle, they say, and pose no reason for concern — unless you are a squirrel.

"I've heard from people all over the country with mixed reports on the size of the crop in different areas," said Rod Simmons, a botanist with the city of Alexandria, Va., where acorns have been in short supply this winter. Simmons said it appears oak trees produced small crops or no acorns in many parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. He said he also has heard similar reports from people in parts of California, Kansas, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

Read the rest of article at:

Now, Here's Something
Everyone Can Do To Help!

Even if you live in an area that is not being effected by the acorn shortage, this is a great family project the squirrels will appreciate!

Build This Squirrel Feeder
Chris an Conor built these twin squirrel feeders in under an hour, using scrap wood from past projects. They each received points toward their progress in the Missouri Conservation Frontiers Program for the project, so they helped themselves as well as the squirrels!

All you need is:

15" of 2X4 board. Beat up scrap wood is fine - squirrels are not picky about appearances! You'll also need a pencil, a drill, a screwdriver, a bottle of wood glue, 3 3" screws, and a few long nails for mounting. A vice can also be very helpful for pre-drilling your holes.


Cut the 2X4 into two lengths, one 11", the other 4". Butt the 4" piece right up to the 11" piece as shown in the picture. Mark its location with the pencil. Your going to attach the two pieces using the screws and a little wood glue.

Using a drill bit the right size for the width of your 3" screws, drill two holes through the 11" piece inside the rectangle you just traced where the 4" piece will go. The holes should be a couple of inches apart. Then put the 4" piece into a vice, lay the predrilled 11" piece over it, and drill again so that when you put the screws in through the back of the 11" piece they will secure the 4" piece as shown in the picture. Now run a line of wood glue along the edge of the 4" piece, butt the two pieces together, then hand turn your screws until they are tight. The wood glue is not absolutely necessary, but squirrels are well known for being ROUGH on feeders. That little bit of Elmer's will go a long way toward making your feeder darned near indestructable!

Now drill a hole in the center of the 4" piece. The third 3" screw goes here, with the sharp end pointing up. This is where the corncob goes. You don't have to wait for the glue to dry before drilling the hole or putting in the screw, as the two screws already scuring the joint will hold everything together just fine.

We drilled two more holes, both in the 11" piece, one at the top of the feeder and another at the bottom, underneath the 4" piece. We used the long nails through these holes to nail the feeders securly into position, one in a 4X4 post of our wooden privacy fence, and the other to a tree stump (NOTE: Do Not nail feeders into living trees!!! You'' injure them!). Feel free to devise your own means of hanging these feeders, but be sure however you do it, they're rock solid or you're going to find them on the ground every day. Squirrels are frisky, busy and quite strong little mammals - prepare for that!

I forgot to mention, you also need... CORN! You can purchase ears of squirrel corn (also called "critter corn") just about anywhere that sells birdseed. Twist the cob straight down onto the screw sticking up from the 4" piece of wood, and you and your squirrels are good to go!

Here's another picture, for inspiration!