Feedback by Nigel Peck on Ron Long’s Experience in Port Moody.
(Please see Ron’s article on page 63 of Vol. 48 of DISCOVERY)
Here in East Vancouver, we do not have all the critters that Ron Long had to contend with in Port Moody, however I am sure that the contingent of rats on our block (right next to Commercial Drive restaurant garbage bins) would take your breath away. Therefore, our bird feeding system includes a tin roof covering the suet feeder which is further protected by a ’Tin Man Hat’ attached to the copper water piping I strung together to create a rat & squirrel proof suspension system that they can’t climb.
The squirrels of course can jump about four feet straight up so I had to keep moving the pipe higher and higher until it was just beyond their vertical jumping range. I was quite proud until I saw the squirrels run along the highest power line and then launch themselves down to the suet feeder and access it that way. I then added the chicken wire which protrudes out of the eavestrough and stopped them for a bit. This was until the squirrels learned how to jump over the chicken wire, land on the power line and then run and jump for breakfast (or lunch or dinner).
So, the next step was to add two lightweight litre sized pop bottles which sit on the power line and rotate with the weight of a squirrel dropping it to the ground.
I would like to say this has solved all the problems. However that is not the case though.
There are two issues that I have to address everyday. First, I have to scare the squirrels off every time they climb the stucco of the house to access the bird feeder by the window (seen at the bottom right corner of the photo below). Second, every day just before sunset, I have to remove that bird feeder, otherwise within a couple of minutes after sunset, there will be huge Norwegian rats helping themselves to a wonderful dinner. A somewhat gross sight.
The crow sitting on the top of the tree in the background has not been an issue yet for our bird feeders however we did have a Cooper’s Hawk come swooping through to try to catch a song bird. The hawk missed but it was quite a sight!
We don’t have a perfect solution but it is adequate to be able to feed and watch the birds which is such a pleasure!
One summer night when I opened the back door after dark, I found a House Rat sampling our Cherry Tomatoes. When I saw it, it looked terrified – quivering and shaking. Perhaps I should have tried to shorten its lifespan, or shoo it away, however after reflection and a couple photos I ended up just closing the door and leaving it to its dinner. Possibly a mistake, but kind-hearted (or perhaps simple minded on my part) in the short term at least.