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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Squirrel trials update #2

They're very tricky those squirrels. At the moment they are not cooperating.

The day before yesterday I installed a remote passive infrared (PIR) surveillance alarm in the roof of the owl box under a wire mesh cage. Now the alarm will alert the codger when it is time for squirrel observation.

It works nicely. The infrared detector sends a signal from the box to the receiver in the house which produces a maddening 2-tone alarm. There 's a little red light on the transmitter so you can perform a "walk test".

Yesterday morning the alarm sounded briefly on two occasions between 9:00 and 10:00. Though the box was filled with sunflower seed, the squirrels immediately withdrew. I suspect they heard the alarm through the walls of the house (yes, even I can hear it from out there) or they didn't like the red light blinking on the detector.

Wouldn't it be nice if a blinking red light was all it took to keep squirrels out of owl boxes? Well, I'm not buying it. When they are ready or hungry enough the squirrels will be back.

However, the experiment must continue without delay. Late yesterday I covered the light with electrician's tape, but no squirrels have entered the box today.

I'm going to remove the roof of the box to make the food inside more inviting. We need a population of highly motivated squirrels if we are going to solve this problem.

In the meanwhile we are getting our daily exercise shoveling snow and chopping ice. We've been snowed in for two weeks now, and it's time to buy supplies (like food!).

1 comment:

Owlman said...

Any news on the squirrel experiments?