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March 11, 2018 4 min read

Steps to protecting bird feeders from squirrels

If you are a bird lover and enjoy keeping them as pets, it is important you learn smart ways of protecting your bird feeders from our little furry critters, squirrels. There are several deterring techniques you can use here. When rightly used, these techniques will help keep away squirrels while at the same time ensuring your birds are properly fed.

Squirrels and bird feeders

Birds love black oil sunflower seeds, suet and nuts as much as squirrels do.

There is certainly nothing to be worried about if squirrels only visit your backyard only once in a while. When it becomes a serious problem is when they visit time and again. Squirrels when they come visiting always cause irreparable damages to birders. They are a domineering set of creatures, and will rather feed all by themselves than to share feeds with birds. In fact, their domineering attitude and voracious eating habits can cause your birds to starve.

When searching for birdseed to feed on, squirrels don’t mind chewing away plastic and even wooden containers holding the seed, damaging the container beyond repair. A hungry squirrel will feed on bird eggs and newly hatched birds – making your birders squirrel-proof is the best gift you can give to your birds.

Ways of making a bird feeder squirrel proof

You can conveniently make deter squirrels from a bird feeder while at the same time making it attractive to birds. There are several ways of doing this; below are some of them.

  1. 1. Locations: The trick here it to place the feeders at a distance where they can’t be reached by squirrels. Ideally, the feeders should be places at least at a distance of 12 feet from spots like trees, gutters, wires, porches, reason being that a squirrel is capable of leaping a height of 10 feet into the air. Better still, place the feeder on a metallic pole that is too high for squirrels to reach.
  2. Cages:This technique requires placing a birdfeeder into a cage that is too small for squirrels to pass through but large enough to fit in small birds. This deterring technique is also effective against large birds like pigeons and grackles who may want to compete for food with your birdies. To save cost, purchase feeders equipped with a cage and then add a mesh for extra protection. For stations with many feeders, a large cage should be used.
  3. Baffles:As an added layer of protection, baffles either made of metals or plastic should be placed underneath bird feeders. To avoid squirrels from squeezing their way through, ensure the baffle used is nothing less than 15 inches in length. Baffles work by tilting and twirling whenever a squirrel attempts to climb pass it. In so doing, it knocks the critter off balance, eventually deterring it from a bird feeder.
  4. Keep things clean:Squirrels are attracted by spilt seeds and littered debris. So, to keep them away, a bird feeder should be cleaned off anything that would serve as an attractant for squirrels. Most importantly, ensure your birds only feed on fresh seeds and not stale and possibly contaminated seeds.
  5. Spinners:Squirrels are good climbers; one good way to beat them at their game is by attaching a bird feeder to a horizontal wire connected to a spinner. A spinner is simply anything than will spin when climber upon by squirrels. Short pipes or hose, thread spools, and plastic cylindrical cans are typical examples. Should a squirrel attempt to access a bird feeder, the spinner would spin, throwing the invasive critter off balance.
  6. Feeder Style:The best form of feeders are those with does that are actuated by the movement of a squirrel. This type of feeders are too tough for squirrels to destroy, and they are effective enough to make birdseed inaccessible for squirrels. Better still, opt for metal feeders, which are basically feeders constructed with tough metallic materials squirrels simply can’t chew.
  7. Seed:Certain types of seed repel squirrels. Typical examples include safflower and nyier seeds. Covering your feeders with these seed at all times will make squirrels forever stay away without hampering feeding birds.
  8. Squirrel repellents:One of the most effective solution for squirrel-proofing a bird feeder is squirrel repellents. Squirrels can’t stand the smell of such repellents and will scurry away for safety the instance they smell the repellent. For better results, the repellent should be sprayed very close to the feeder. Squirrel MACE is an all-Natural repellent effective at repelling squirrels.
  9. Spicy seed:While mammals like squirrels are repulsed at the scent of pepper, bird aren’t. To keep squirrels away for good, mix the birdseed with cayenne pepper. Only ensure the cayenne pepper is constantly replaced because it easily gets washed off. Do well to protect yourself when handling cayenne pepper by wearing gloves. Alternatively, purchase per-treated seeds as they are fair easy to handle.
  10. Traps:If you are having troubles keeping squirrels away from your yard, you may have to seek help from professional exterminator. They are in the best position to advice on the best form of trap to use. Do bear in mind that traps are used differently in different localities. So, check to see if you are compliant with local regulations before using traps.

Things to avoid

It is common to see squirrels come back time and again even after using several deterring techniques. As frustrating as it may be, there are certain deterring tactics you shouldn’t use no matter what. Below are some of them:

  1. Hunting:It is considered illegal to hunt and kill squirrel in certain parts of the United States, and so should be avoided as much as possible.
  2. Poison:Using poisons to keep off squirrels is a harmful technique – you might end up killing off your birds.
  3. Cats:Cats feed on squirrel as much as they do on birds. Rather than feed on the squirrels they are meant to keep away, they might end up feeding on the birds they are supposed to protect.
  4. Grease:Using grease to wade off squirrels by rubbing it on feeder hanger or pole is an ineffective deterring technique, reason being that they grease will end up being rubbed off the feathers of the bird and may cause them to fall sick and eventually die.

Steps to protecting bird feeders from squirrels