and I did too. I love my squirrels and think they have as much right to eat from my offerings as the rest of the birds so I don't try to deter them too much. I have only one baffle on one safflower feeder so the cardinals, nuthatches, titmouse and goldfinches can eat in peace. The other feeders hang freely and the squirrels visit them over and over despite how much food we scatter all over the ground as well as cover our whole picnic table with. You can see in this photo their 'free range'.
But one year I had a strange visitor to my bird feeder. It was summertime and after dark so I'm guessing it was about 9-10pm. We had our French slider open off the living area and were watching TV. You know how sometimes you hear a noise but you are so used to it that it doesn't register in your brain right away? Well I had a garden ornamental sculpture that had brass bells attached to it and I had hung one of my feeders from it. It was too heavy for a wind chime and only the strongest gusts of wind would cause it to sound, so when it did it meant I had a critter (squirrel) in the feeder. This feeder looked like a white gazebo and they would sit in there for hours cleaning it out.
I had become accustomed to hearing the tinkling of the bells telling me it was occupied. Too accustomed it turned out.
See that sound happened during the day. But this time it took me a few minutes to realize that I was hearing this sound at night.
I quickly whispered to my husband that there was something messing with our feeder. Now this tree it hung from was no more than 10-12 feet from my door. So I grabbed a flashlight and we tiptoed over to the door, opened the screen and threw on the porch light and flashlight at the same time. I had aimed it well and saw this critter with huge eyes looking up at me from the feeder. We only had a few seconds to take it all in when it disappeared, never to be seen again.
I had to find out what this was, so I searched, and searched and finally, in one of my books (didn't have internet back then, it would have been so much easier!) I found a picture of it.
It was one of these.
You most likely have never seen one as they are nocturnal and are called Flying Squirrels. A really cute creature and since we lived at the time in a remote area near a river with farmland and woods around, it was a perfect habitat for it.
The next strange thing I found on my bird feeder was a few year ago, about this time of year at Passover. We were having our first night Seder and were about half way through (mine usually last 6 hours, I love to really play up the 10 plagues! ). It was warm that year and we had the door to the living area open as well as the side doors. As we were eating I heard a noise outside, actually more of a crashing sound. I was glad there were lots of people there with me or I might have been a bit scared. I went to the door and flipped on the porch light and what did I see hanging from my bird feeder? A huge Raccoon! Yes, he must have wanted to join in on our Seder too (didn't know Raccoons were Jewish! ;) ). The light scared him away but we saw him a few more times that Spring. They don't bother me, I actually raised two orphans whose mother had drowned in a spring flood years ago. They both got sick, one got well the other didn't. I raised him up to adulthood and then gave him to a place nearby called Animal Actors. They had all kinds of domestic and wild animals they trained for movies, commercials and such. They even had an Elephant that I would see occasionally down by the same river I lived next to , having a drink and a bath! (They were most famous I think for owning the Tiger from the Exxon ads from years ago).
So, although I've had surprises and interesting discoveries at my feeders, I can tell you this, I NEVER want to see THIS (click link) in my Yard, that I Guarantee! Make sure to scroll down and enlarge to see the whole thing! (In Firefox I just hold down the control button and use the scroll button on my mouse. )
Wishing you some exciting sights at your feeders but nothing too scary! :)