Mark D. Roberts

Behind the place we stay at at Laity Lodge, I have a bird feeder that gets plenty of visitors. Sparrows, chickadees, cardinals, and titmice are plentiful.

But so are other, less welcome critters. The squirrels seem to think that our bird feeder is actually a squirrel feeder, even though we have the Eliminator model, a bird feeder that is especially built to keep squirrels from eating the seed.

Nevertheless, the squirrels are relentless. Their most recent strategy has been to remove the bird feeder from the hook that attaches it to the tree, dropping it on the ground and scattering a bit of the seed. My strategy is to reform the hook so this isn’t possible. So far, the squirrels are winning.

titmouse-black-crested-5.jpgEarly this morning I noticed that the bird feeder was, once again, on the ground. So I went out to bend the hook some more and put the feeder back up. While I was standing on a chair so that I could reach the hook, I was approached by a bold little titmouse. These are very small birds, and usually they seem quite skittish. But this particular titmouse, a black-crested variety found in Texas and Mexico, was not afraid of me. In fact, he was downright angry with me. I guess he didn’t understand about the squirrels, but figured I was taking away his source of seeds. So the titmouse came very near my head and sat on a branch, where he proceeded to chew me out. I got an earful of his anger.

When I finally put the feeder back up, the titmouse enjoyed the fruits of his apparent victory over me, and returned to the feeder to have breakfast. This is the first time I have been chewed out by a titmouse. But if the squirrels keep messing around with my feeder, it may not be the last.

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