Shoo, Scat, Skedaddle, Begone!


This post will probably get me banned from the nature blog fraternity.  I have always enjoyed wildlife visiting the yard.  In fact, I have taken steps to encourage these visits.  There is one critter, however, that has worn out its welcome.  There was a time when I might have enjoyed a single Eastern Gray Squirrel visit once every week or two.  More recently, when I replenished the platform feeder in the front patio every morning, there would be five or six squirrels on it within seconds.  They didn't leave until the feeder was empty.  While they were at it, they dug up the planters and trampled the flowers.  In the backyard, Birdcam station number 2 was set up with suet.  For every 100 photos, 85-90 would be Gray Squirrels!  They would polish-off an entire cake of suet in a day.  My squirrel problem was out of control.

Internet references on the Eastern Gray Squirrel indicate their range is basically east of the Mississippi River.  I can assure you their range is more extensive than that.  We have a Western Gray Squirrel, but it has become a threatened species in Washington.  It is losing its Garry Oak forest habitat and being out-competed by its more aggressive eastern cousin.

In desperation, I decided to try this stuff called Shake-Away Fox Urine Granules.  You can find it at garden and hardware stores and on the internet.  I sprinkled it into the planters in the patio and gave it the acid test:  I stocked the platform feeder with squirrel magnets, peanuts and striped sunflower seed.  The results were immediate.  Only one squirrel kept appearing, but after a few days, he also disappeared.  I expected to see them at the edge of the yard protesting.  Instead, it was as if they never existed.  The birds were not affected at all and it did not stink up the patio as I had feared.


I also tried it at the backyard Birdcam station.  I sprinkled it on the Salal growing all around the base of the Douglas Fir.  I got the same results there.  It took a little longer to take effect, but the squirrels quit appearing in the Birdcam photos after a few days.

There is one big disadvantage.  I regret it may also repel the Douglas Squirrels and Chipmunks.  Shake-Away got mixed reviews at Amazon, but it wasn't clear why.  I used it fairly liberally and got good results.  Some reviewers mentioned that it can take a few days for full effect and that was also my experience.

It has now been more than a month since I tried this, and I am still getting good results.  I have been adding a little bit directly to the platform feed mix each morning.  Today I tried it without the Shake-Away.  The squirrels appeared immediately.  When I sprinkled a little bit on the feeder, they disappeared again.  Another confirmation test passed.

Check it out for yourself.  If you decide to give it a try, be sure to pick a fox or fox/coyote urine product labelled for squirrels.  There are different versions targeting different pests.  (I don't use the coyote product since it will also repel deer.)  Use it liberally at first and give it at least a week for full effect.  Then just a little sprinkle each day should protect the feeders from these ravenous critters.

Comments

  1. So at least there is a way to keep the squirrels away. We finally hung our feeders on wires between trees. The squirrels can get what falls on the ground. But there was a period where they would polish off everyday what was in the feeders. Right now we have one storing his dried mushrooms in a shop with opening still has it's not completely closed up. So when it is finished we have to move the mushrooms out to a location he can find them again. I always feel so bad when they make a winter storage and they loose access or it get distroyed. The woodshed is always a favorite for them. But then the wood get pulled out exposing there winter staches. Well thanks for sharing.

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