I realized that I hadn’t spent enough quality time watching squirrels recently. Black Tip would sit on the fence and wait for me to put food out, but we haven’t seen him in a while, and the new youngsters are shy.

On Sunday I was idly browsing the tool store when I saw they had a special on wireless motion sensor alarms, the kind you can mount on your driveway and hear a beep when someone approaches the house. I figured I’d risk $12 to see if one could detect a squirrel. Cheap Chinese-made crap, but it’s not for actual security use, so who cares?

Opening up the box revealed an infra-red sensor and transmitter unit, and a receiver with some apparently superfluous LEDs, both battery powered. The “chime” is a harsh beep, and I’m not sure how much I’d trust the claim of a 400′ range, but for this application it’s fine.

The sensor/transmitter is now on the rat mat, and the receiver is in the living room. When a squirrel approaches to chow, the receiver beeps and we can walk to the back door to watch. Since there’s no sound from the sensor, the squirrel doesn’t get frightened off. As far as they know, we’re just spending a lot more time at the back of the house.

I’m now wondering how hard it would be to get it hooked up to trigger a camera…


According to IRNA, the official Islamic Republic news agency, the national Police chief has implicitly verified the news about the confiscation of a number of squirrels, equipped with eavesdropping devices, on the Iranian borders. He has declined to give any more details, but, reportedly, when asked about the confiscation of 14 spy squirrels, he stated, “I have heard about it, but I do not have precise information”. IRNA adds, “These squirrels were equipped by foreign intelligence services, but were captured two weeks ago by the Police”.

Life imitates Flickr?

It has taken a long time and lots of nuts, but today it finally happened: our local alpha squirrel, Black Tip, took a peanut out of my fingers.

I’m wondering if the other squirrels watching him have the intellectual capacity to reason that they can do it too, or whether I’ll need to train them separately.

We now have 3 female squirrels visiting us who are either pregnant or nursing. Today one was feeding when a second turned up with two young squirrels in tow. The latecomer was chased off, and the youngsters proceeded to spend most of the rest of the afternoon playing in the treetops.

I seem to have started an interspecies conflict, however. One of the doves has worked out that there’s often sunflower seed to be had on the rear deck. On Friday I saw a squirrel being chased along the fence by an angry dove.

I’m going to have to come up with some kind of seed dispenser that’s dove-proof but not squirrel-proof. Maybe a plastic container with some smallish holes in, attached to the mat with some wire.

Buster has also returned. I’m going to try to get a good photo.