Wednesday, 4 May 2011

How not to kill squirrels.

The local tree expert arrived on my door step after lunch. He looked at my almost dead palm tree and told me it was not frost bitten but had some sort of disease and that he'd had to take down several in the area. He thinks he might be able to save it but is not sure. I showed him the tree that seems to be a cross between a eucalyptus and an acacia and was surprised to find him stumped.....he isn't sure what it is either. So the twitterati is in good company. 
Then we addressed the real problem of the summer. Squirrels at St Just.  They have been rampant, grown in numbers and several lovely old trees have been killed. The story is apparently that some well meaning people have trapped squirrels in their own gardens and not wanting to kill them have let them loose in a lovely place, the graveyard and gardens down by the creek surrounding the church. 
The problem is that we have a lot of visitors...there are always lots  of them walking around the gardens in the summer and he felt that in consultation with our verger Clive he could not  really shoot them...a dead squirrel falling from above might not give quite the right atmosphere  apart from the noise of the guns would make . 
Another solution would be poison but as he pointed out, the drays were a long way up...getting the right stuff into the right place could prove difficult. 
He had though been considering another imaginative solution.  Hawks. There are several hawking groups in Cornwall who might be prepared to come and see the squirrels off. Some how that didn't seem quite right either....would the squirrels then be dropped onto the visitors as if they'd been shot? He shook his head...
"There wouldn't be much left of them Jean" he said..." Not once the hawks had them and it would look wonderful, the visitors might like it.  
Not quite what they come to St Just for though.  Wed have to put up notices on that day. "Squirrel Hunt in Progress" ?  It could develop into a whole new visitor attraction 

2 comments:

  1. I think hawks or falcons are the perfect solution. It's certainly a natural, eco-friendly way of keeping the squirrel population down, and really more humane than poison. I agree that shooting the little varments might not be the best thing. The US Air Force used to relocate foxes to the area when the rabbit population on the runways became a danger to the planes (the bunnies would get sucked up in the engines and crash the jets). The foxes hunted at dawn and at dusk, so they were rarely any danger to the planes. As I remember, we also had a falconeer on staff at RAF Upper Heyford to keep the small bird population down and the planes flying.

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  2. I wonder what kind of bird would be needed to take squirrels out of the trees? Something quite hefty, I imagine.

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