The steel grommets around the miniature openings, fit only for tiny conical beaks, cannot be chewed open by even the most persistent rodent. Both the top and the bottom of the feeder detach for ease in filling and cleaning, but the tongue-in-groove fittings can’t be matched by thumbless hands. The seed is black niger—a feast for goldfinches, distasteful to squirrels. So say the experts at the bird-supply store.
The experts have not met this squirrel. He takes the feeder by the perches, one in each hand, pulling it to his mouth like an ear of sweet corn at a Fourth of July potluck. He makes his own mouth small to match the small, cleft mouth of the feeder, and he licks the seeds out, one by one. This is a full-body embrace, a kiss that goes on for hours. Seed by seed he fills his belly. He has nothing but time, and the squirrel-proof finch feeder, impervious to fury and force, is undone by patience and time. He knows I am at my desk barely more than an arm’s reach from the window, but I do not concern him. I am only watching through the window, and I do not in any way concern him.