Unfortunately, I recognize the scratching inside my chimney. These little visitors have overstayed their welcome before. As a matter of fact, this is our third squirrel infestation. The first was in our attic in Georgia (one feisty little feller chewed through the brake lines on a guy's car in the parking lot). The second was a couple of years ago, after a rare red cockated woodpecker pecked an enormous hole on the side of our wooden chimney. This prompts several questions: 1.) Why would anyone ever build a wooden chimney?, 2.) Why are these woodpeckers protected?, 3.) What will happen to us if we shoot the woodpeckers or squirrels within city limits? The third question has unfortunately been answered by my neighbor, a very nice lady who used to work for the police department. She kindly informed me that she would call the cops if she saw any suspicious business. She is actually very nice.
The second infestation also raised the question of how to get the boogers out of the chimney. We can't smoke them out since we can't actually use our fireplace. It was at one time a gas-burning fireplace, but the lines have since been removed. Now, a set of candles inhabits the inside. They lend a nice ambiance for the rodents. So, Willie built a squirrel pole. This is a survival technique where you take a pole, attach snares and shiny things and set it in the path of squirrels. The squirrel pole was set up in front of our bird feeder. Fortunately, we weren't depending on it for food. It was unsuccessful for three months. After a slight alteration (Oh! This must be the right squirrel path!), a squirrel was caught. I carried our 18 month old daughter up the porch steps and watched in horror as a squirrel hanged itself right in front of us. But this story does have a happy ending: Willie was able to use the tail to tie some fishing flies.
I don't know what will become of these squirrels. If they contributed, that would be one thing. Maybe I can train them to bring nuts and seeds or something. At least it isn't mice.