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Guelph Matters: Chipmunks lose their appeal

Guelph Matters
Column by Chris Clark

I thought I had discovered the perfect antidote in preventing dastardly squirrels and grackles from inhaling my bird feed.

It’s called safflower. Squirrels and grackles don’t like the stuff, leaving all that much more for Guelph’s varied pretty songbirds.

Problem solved, or so I thought.

Squirrels and grackles don’t like safflower, but chipmunks sure do. As the fellow at Birds Unlimited told  me yesterday morning, “Chipmunks will eat anything.”

I am not sure about that, but they have certainly been gobbling up my safflower at an alarming rate. In the beginning,  it was appealing to see them skitter back and forth. That they can scamper up the garden crook to the feeder was fun to watch, too.

That was then, this is now.  Their cuteness has long worn off since they don’t leave much for my birds and the price of good bird seed ain’t chicken feed.

The reason for my call to Birds Unlimited, though, was that I had heard that mixing cayenne pepper into the feed will see the chipmunks cease and desist.  At the same time, birds will continue to chow down at the feeder.

This theory was confirmed.

However, the puzzler is, how do we know about bird taste buds?  How do we know what birds are tasting – if anything – when dining on cayenne-flavoured bird feed?

Oh well, it doesn’t really matter as the chipmunks are gone and the birds keep coming back.

• • •

I call it gasoline roulette.

From day to day I never know where gas prices are going to go.

That a litre of gas can be 10 cents cheaper (or more expensive) from one day to the next is both astounding and frustrating. You win some and you lose some.

It happens pretty much on a weekly basis. Every day I  pass a gas station on Edinburgh Road and debate the merits of buying gas.

Buy now, buy later, it’s a real gamble. This week I tanked up at $1.22 a litre. The following morning it was $1.32 a litre. While triumphant this week, I have also been burned in the past.

In fact, I probably have been burned more often than not.

Nevertheless it’s fun spinning the wheel, and where gas prices land, I never know.

And, to think I bought gas at $1.22 a litre and thought it was a bargain.

A buck-twenty-two a bargain?

That’s another matter all together.

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