Attracting birds and dealing with squirrels
I recently purchased a house that sits right next to a man-made wetland. As expected, there are a lot of wildlife in the area. My wife really love birds, so I was thinking of ways of attracting them.
From what I can determined, birds are attracted by two things: water and food. Since I live next to water, the bird bath is probably redundant (may be less redundant in the winter when the water ice up). The birds I notice in the area all year around are cardinals. They probably don't work too well with tube feeders with those big heads and no neck. If I put up a feeder, how do I attract them to the feeder or do I just need to wait?
Which brings me to the next point, I put up a feeder birds don't find it, but there appears to be a million squirrels in my yard. The suet feeder I put up got cleaned out in less than a day.
As an experiment, I tried leaving black oil sunflower seeds in a pile of cayenne pepper. An hour later, the squirrel came by and ate them all up. So much for pepper as a deterrent.
I am thinking that they just dig out the seed from the pepper and ate them. I was thinking that for my next attempt, I'll coat or soak the seeds in some Chinese chili oil, but I don't know if this may be harmful to birds or make the seeds unappealing to the birds.
A second idea is to make it difficult to get to the food. I was thinking of bird feeder on a high pole, but I notice squirrels can climb a metal pole. Apparently, they are hugging it and climbing up the pole. If I get a really thick pole, they may not be able to do this, but I thought there may be an easier solution, a fishing line across 2 trees. I would have to put it high enough that no one will run into it. It's thin enough that they probably can't cross it, but I am wondering if:
1. Can squirrels walk across a fishing line. They can walk across a power lines, but those cables are thick. May be they can tightrope?
2. Will the birds get snagged by the fishing line? Do I need to paint it or something to prevent this from happening?
3. How high do I need to place the feeder so they can't jump on the feeder. Most site indicate about 6 feet or higher?
4. How far away from a tree do I need to hang the feeder? I can't figure out how far a squirrel can jump from tree to tree.