pianofritz wrote: We lived in the heart of New Orleans for over 40 years until Katrina ran us out with five feet of contaminated salt water. Pretty well takes out everything. With four daughters and the income of a professional musician the funds just weren't available for bird seed.
Our youngest daughter lives in Arden, NC and called us a couple of days after the flood and said "Dad why don't you talk to Mom about moving up here?" So my wife and I talked about it for about 30 seconds and said "let's go!" We've been here ever since. One of the first things I did was get a couple of bird feeders and put them up. My wife is a true skeptic. "You'll never get any birds to come here!" Now she's the one that insists on filling the finch feeder, the thistle sock and the platform feeder everyday.
In regards to squirrels - they can be defeated but you have to stick to it. My attitude is "there ain't no tree rat gonna outsmart me". What do you expect from a dedicated squirrel hunter? I paid about $30.00 for a feeder barrier from Wild Birds store then figured out how to make the same thing from stove pipe from Home Depot for about five bucks. Works great.
I have found that it appears as though the squirrels are discarding the corn you put out but in reality if you take a look at the discarded pieces of corn, each one has a part of it chewed out. Apparently they eat only what they consider is the "good" part. The racoons that visit at night ( I have a trail camera that captured their image a few months ago) clean up any of the corn left laying around. I'm adding a picture I took about five days ago of a squirrel sitting on the rustic fence I built in 2007 completely out of landscape timbers. That day we had about four or five inches of snow. The Smokies are a great place to live!