Well, sir, that’s a jolly astute question.

He is raiding something he shouldn’t have. The nuts are for the birds, and, dash it, it would appear on the face of it to be a foolish place to hang them. But there are several reasons for this.

There’s the historical reason: squirrels haven’t been a common part of the urban landscape round here either. I thought I was safe.

Then there’s the practical reason: hanging one’s nuts where a squirrel can’t gnaw on them requires (a) vast space to set up, and (b) a load of equipment. This is because anything short of a floating nut holder surrounded by an electric fence and a moat wider than squirrel jumping distance will be penetrated. Essentially there a very few places where a squirrel can’t get if there are nuts to gnaw. Also, the birds will only come to the feeder if there are nearby branches to shelter in, and nearby branches provide easy access for the squirrel.

Then there’s the aesthetic reason: the commercial response to the squirrel menace is simply to manufacture feaders that by sheer brute force the exclude the squirrel. This results in a sort of heavy-framed “fortress bird”, where the outer bars are spaced to allow tits and sparrows through, whilst the inner peanut mesh is beyond squirrel’s arm’s reach. I just prefer the look of my wooden feeder.

And finally there’s the pragmatic reason. Much though I dislike the non-native grey squirrels, (and this isn’t xenophobia, it’s because they have all but wiped out the reds) this one isn’t actually doing much damage. I suspect he’s not very bright, because most of his brethren would have unhooked the feader and emptied the nuts out prior to a sit down feast, but he’s just rather ineffectually trying to suck a few crumbs through the holes.