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How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

7 Clever Methods to Keep Squirrels Away from Your Bird Feeder

Anyone who has ever attempted to lure feathered visitors into their backyard with a bird feeder knows this well: Once you set it up, the guests will arrive. However, in this case, "guests" refers to squirrels, those agile little acrobats who see bird feeders as more of an invitation than a deterrent. So, how can you prevent squirrels from raiding bird feeders? We consulted expert critter wranglers for their most effective strategies.


Squirrels possess robust bodies but often forgetful minds

According to small animal researchers, "The challenge with squirrels lies in their remarkable agility and relentless activity." Indeed, squirrels can fall from heights of up to 100 feet without injury and can leap up to 8 feet horizontally from a standing position. Being adept climbers by nature, they excel at navigating tree limbs and urban landscapes alike. These industrious creatures can consume up to a pound of food each week, feasting on a variety of items including nuts, seeds, fruits, plants, mushrooms, and even some insects. However, their food hoarding tendencies often exceed their immediate dietary needs, leading them to stash away surplus provisions in underground "pantries" for winter when food sources become scarce.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

As it turns out, squirrels have a habit of forgetting where they stash their treasures, inadvertently aiding in the natural cycle by allowing seeds and nuts to sprout into future trees and plants. This behavior earns them the title of nature's little farmers. However, when it comes to the specialized seeds you've bought to attract cardinals to your garden, you probably don't want them scattered about.

“That means devising a genuinely squirrel-proof bird feeder will require some creativity. Fortunately, we've gathered the most recommended methods from experts. Just keep reading to discover simple yet effective ways to truly squirrel-proof your feeder.


How to keep squirrels away: Hang the feeders high

Given that squirrels are capable of surviving falls from significant heights and performing impressive leaps (though not quite as gracefully as Superman), where you position your bird feeder can greatly deter these nimble critters. Thorsell advises, “Ensure it's elevated at least 10 feet from the ground, preventing squirrels from simply leaping onto it. Also, keep it a good distance away from low-hanging tree branches or your roof to thwart any attempts to jump down onto it from above.”


How to keep squirrels away: Raid your toy chest

A similar method to a baffle is to grab that Slinky that’s been sitting in your attic toy box for decades and wrap it around the pole, attaching one end to the bottom of the feeder. When the squirrel tries to climb up, it will have to grab onto the bottom of the Slinky. Its weight will cause the toy to drag it back down to the bottom of the pole every time.

How to keep squirrels away Raid your toy chest


How to keep squirrels away: Trip them up on a high wire

Instead of hanging your feeder from a tree, suspend your feeders on a wire attached between two poles or trees, and string old CDs, records or plastic soda bottles on it to prevent the critters from walking across to the feeder.

Or, if you prefer to install your feeder from a pole, look for ones made from PVC or copper, which squirrels naturally find difficult to climb. Wooden poles and those made from other metals seem to be no problem for them to traverse.


How to keep squirrels away: Utilizing metal bird Feeder

Squirrels have a natural inclination to gnaw, a trait determined by their genes. Their teeth continuously grow throughout their lives, necessitating gnawing to keep them in check. However, we can approach this issue from a different angle: if a material is unpleasant for squirrels to chew on, might they seek alternatives elsewhere? Indeed, metal materials have proven effective in reducing squirrel damage and consequently discouraging their visits. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to consider switching to bird feeders with camera or birdhouse camera made of metal.

Metal Material Anti-squirrel Gnawing

Try: Bilantan BirdHi Mag Bird Feeder camera(Full body metal material to reduce squirrel chewing damage)


How to keep squirrels away: Try a baffle

And no, you don't have to engage in a game of riddles with the squirrels. "A baffle is essentially a cone- or dome-shaped device that you position on the string or pole above or below your feeder, effectively blocking squirrels from climbing up or down to reach the food," elaborates Tom Monson, proprietor of Monson Lawn & Landscaping in St Paul, Minnesota.


How to keep squirrels away: Sprinkle hot pepper flakes

Scattering hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper around the base of a feeder can discourage squirrels from reaching it. “Birds aren’t affected by capsaicin — the compound in hot peppers responsible for their spiciness — but squirrels are,” clarifies Jeniffer Smith, proprietor of “It won’t cause harm to either animal, but squirrels will steer clear of areas treated with it.”


How to keep squirrels away: Try a swivel hook

Hanging your feeder from a spinning hook can send any thieving squirrels for a ride. When they try to grab onto the feeder from above or below, their weight will send the whole container into a tailspin and knock the squirrel off. Birds flying in for a snack won’t be heavy enough to trigger the dizzying effects.

How to keep squirrels away Sprinkle hot pepper flakes


What *not* to do to keep squirrels out of bird feeders

You may have read to apply grease or oil to your feeder pole, but all experts agree, not only is it ineffective, some animals, including birds, may try to ingest it and get sick.



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