Bird v. Mouse: Rodent 2, Feeder 0

Perhaps my title is unfair.  We have been feeding birds for over 20 years and our feeders, baffles, etc. have been generally very effective.

Just not at the moment.

Mouse in feeder. Shot (shaking) through window screen (sigh, just when I was starting to get some compliments on my photos)

All winter my husband was complaining about the birds.  “They’ve gotten really picky,” he whined, “they’re just eating the sunflower seed and leaving a pile of shells.”  Though we weren’t seeing a lot of birds…

Yesterday afternoon I heard a thump on the window and looked up to see a mouse, clinging, spread eagle, to the screen by  that birdfeeder.  I wasn’t worried because this is one seriously squirrel proof feeder.  There is a baffle that extends below the top of the feeder–which means a mouse would need to leap under the bottom of the baffle, then up over the edge of the feeder and into the bowl (Lord of the Rings fans, think Legolas scaling the Elephant).  The mouse proceeded to do just that and commenced cracking sunflower seeds.  Now we knew why the “birds” were so picky.

I tapped on the window glass to scare away the mouse; it wasn’t fazed.  I yelled through the screen—no impression.  I held up the cat–nothing.

Since I obviously needed to get closer, I took the cat outdoors and over to the feeder.  Although an amazing mouser, she is a confirmed indoor cat and clung to me for dear life.  Clearly this would have to wait for my husband.

Tougher than she looks–as long as you don’t take her into that scarey outdoors.

All of this brought back memories of our very first feeder.  It was not designed to thwart squirrel attacks and they would leap onto the feeder top, then hang upside down to feast.  Thinking ourselves very clever, we hung the feeder from a basketball hoop where the backboard stopped them cold.  They sat behind the barrier and made annoyed squirrel noises.

All was well until two months later when I noticed the white backboard was starting to discolor.  Within days the discolored point was a gaping gnaw hole and a squirrel was wriggling through.  Scratch one backboard.

After this we bought squirrel proof feeders and my husband designed a baffle or two of his own.  All was well for 20 years.  Until Einstein the mouse came along.

When my husband came home, we strategized and decided to move the feeder to a window that doesn’t have a screen.

Unfortunately this feels a bit like the basketball hoop move.  Round 2 here we go.

Mouse leaving feeder. As in jumping toward me to grab the screen that was the only (flimsy) barrier between us (if you thought I was shaking before…)

15 thoughts on “Bird v. Mouse: Rodent 2, Feeder 0

  1. earthmamasworld

    You need to borrow my cat! I came home yesterday to our gerbil cage broken all over the ground. Apparently, our cat decided it wanted to have a snack and knocked the cage off of the desk. I then spent two hours hunting for our indoor rodents hoping that I found them before the cat….for the sake of my kids. I need a clever way to keep our cats away from our gerbils 🙂
    Good luck with your rodent issue!!

  2. JM

    I haven’t had a mouse in the feeders, but regularly have chipmunks and even had a bird inside the feeder at one point…

  3. Pingback: The Worst of 2012 (Ten Ideas that did NOT make my blog) « Art of Natural Living

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