How to please a cardinal and piss off a squirrel.

There are many occasions where I help out the girlfriend in terms of gardening and other aesthetic horticulture. For example, she loves watching the local songbirds as they visit her feeder and chomp down on the tasty bird seeds. But she’s not a fan of the squirrels who try to get their hands on the birdseed as well.

The acquisition of “squirrel-proof” feeders doesn’t always pan out; squirrels are smarter than you think. They’ll get at that seed one way or the other. It’s not like they’re evil or anything; they’re just looking for the same food source that’s readily available, and bird seed is junk food to them.

Well, last year I found what I think was the best solution. It’ll draw more birds and dissuade squirrels.

Follow along with me on this.

There’s a company in Georgia called Cole’s; they produce a special blend of bird seed that contains hot sauce.

No, this stuff was not created by Guy Fieri.

Apparently the hot sauce contains high amounts of the equivalent heat product for, say, Tabasco sauce or Habanero Chiles. Since birds don’t have salivary glands, they can chomp down on the seed to their heart’s delight. Squirrels, on the other hand, take one bite of this stuff and they’re immediately searching for thirst-quenching water.

Last Christmas, I bought a bag of the company’s hot seed, and filled one of the backyard bird feeders with the product.

And sure enough … within moments, the feeder received a visitor.

Would you looky looky at that. A hungry cardinal going for a quick bite.

And a few moments after that, the feeder was mobbed with other neighborhood songbirds. The feeder was completely empty.

As for the squirrels? I know one tried to climb onto the feeder, but after somehow finagling a few kernels of seed in his mouth, he scampered away and didn’t return.

Now I don’t know how you feel about squirrels in your backyard – perhaps you like them as part of your peaceful gardens; perhaps you’d rather whack them with a broom. Certainly your mileage may vary.

That being said …

I really don’t have a problem with squirrels, either. They have their place in nature.

So long as they’re not chomping on the wrong foods.

FTC Disclaimer: At no time did I receive payment for, or request remuneration, from Cole’s Wild Bird Seed for this blog post. This is not an advertising blog post. The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author alone.