Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Relocating 'Buddy'

Relocating 'Buddy' the squirrel has become a much more complicated affair than we expected. Last week we went to the Conservation office and picked up a live trap.

To outwit the squirrel, I used 'crazy glue' to fasten a few peanuts to a piece of cardboard which was then wired in to the bottom of the cage. This way, I reasoned, the squirrel would have to work at pulling the peanut, thereby putting more pressure on the pad that trips the door shut behind him. The trap was then wired to the fence, along Buddy's normal route to the bird feeder.

The next time we checked the trap the peanuts were gone, the door was closed, and no squirrel in sight. As you might expect, there was considerable ridicule with comments like 'Buddy' was smarter than me - evidently not far off the mark in this case.

Later in the day, after loading up the trap again with more peanuts, I actually watched 'Buddy' casually enter the cage and sit smack on the trip pad eating his peanut. It turned out the linkage was so loose that no amount of pressure on the trip pad would close the door - hence Buddy's ability to empty the trap and go. But how the door was sprung is still a mystery.

Perseverance would be the key, I thought. So I was outside at 6:00 am the next morning rigging up a string to the trip mechanism so I could snap the door shut manually. Susan came out at 7:30 to check on the action. Nothing.

Then, about 10 minutes later he appeared. He climbed all over the cage, trying to get at the peanuts. Eventually he found the front and in he went. Snap! The door closed behind him as I pulled the string. Off we went in the truck for a ride across the Yukon River to the Long Lake Road where he was released. He ran into the nearest tree and chattered loudly at me in righteous indignation.

On my return home another squirrel was in the tall spruce tree at the edge of the lot, making a fuss. I set up the trap again and, within a couple of minutes, had another squirrel. Off we went again to the Long Lake Road.

Still there was squirrel activity near the yard, so I set things up once more. This time the squirrel went directly into the cage for the peanuts - so we were convinced this was 'Buddy'. Another trip to the Long Lake Road - gasoline consumption was starting to become an issue.

The following morning we returned the trap to the Conservation office.

Later in the afternoon, Susan and I were putting together a planter in the yard when we heard some noise coming from the shed. Rooting around amongst the plant pots and gardening equipment was 'Buddy'! We suddenly realized that three perfectly innocent squirrels had been forced into exile up the Long Lake Road. Back to the Conservation Office the next day to pick up the trap again.

I set up the trap, this time tightening up the linkage with a bit of tape so the trip flap would actually snap the door closed with the slightest of pressure. I went to coffee with the RCMP Vets and to visit a friend in Porter Creek. Then Susan called on my cell phone telling me a squirrel was in the trap. I came home, and off we went again up the Long Lake Road - rapidly increasing the area's squirrel population. But we were quite convinced by now that we finally had 'Buddy' relocated.

Just to be sure, I set up the trap again. Within about 15 minutes, as I was getting something out of the shed, here was another squirrel on the fence not 10 feet from me. I asked him if he was the real 'Buddy', but he wouldn't say. So, I invited him to carry on down the fence and help himself to the free peanuts in the cage. Which he did. And now we had squirrel #5.

It's been quiet since, even though the trap is set again. Who knows, perhaps 'Buddy' has been asleep in the shed the whole time.

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