For those lucky enough to have a backyard, this past year of isolation and social distancing proved an ideal time to get to know one’s home environment better. For me, the pandemic was the first time when I was home for an entire year, and I got to experience the entire life cycle of my garden on a day by day basis. For some this would be enough of a silver lining, but not so for former Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Mark Rober. Fed up with squirrels stealing from his bird feeder, he created an elaborate obstacle course to thwart them, only to end up completely charmed by their cleverness and acrobatic abilities.

As the pandemic dragged on, Rober took things a step further, building a second obstacle course themed around an Ocean’s 11/Mission Impossible style heist. And, no surprise, his backyard denizens were up to the task. Squirrels really are remarkable creatures, and as with the first video, the lesson here is not to take your surroundings for granted, as there are wonders to be found everywhere.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


3 Thoughts on "The Great Squirrel Heist"

That’s amazing. Of course, he could have saved himself all that trouble by coating the bird seed with chilli powder which birds have no trouble with but squirrels hate, even in a korma sauce and with a glass of vintage coconut milk

I’ve put out peanuts on our deck daily for years and had 5-6 squirrel visitors every day. Named them all. Suddenly only one comes anymore. How can I attract them back?

I don’t know if I’m more impressed with the guy that took the time to build all of this, or the squirrels for figuring out out. Thanks for sharing!

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