George Harrison, an experienced birder and the author of several books—including Squirrel Wars and Other Battles with Backyard Wildlife (Willow Creek Press, 2000)—interviewed people around the country who shared the following tips for keeping squirrels out of bird feeders. It must be big enough around so they squirrels cannot grasp it. It has worked for us but a friend has had her squirrels just ignore the pipes and run up as if not there. But once they do you’ll enjoy attracting the birds you want yet eliminate the Grackles and squirrels. Record albums (especially old 33 rpms) can be useful tools when the wire is strung through several albums on either side of the suspended feeder. Select one that has metal ports around the seed dispensers to protect the feeder from unwanted visitors.
When working with hot peppers it is important to wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face and eyes. The amount of bird seed your feeder holds will help determine how often you will need to refill it. If you expect your bird traffic to be high, then it is recommended to get a feeder that holds more seed, so you can refill it less often. Figure 3. Flying squirrels can glide 150 feet or more from a height of 60 feet.
They work and you would have many more customers..these really keep the squirrels away and I pay 14.95 at another bird store…. If you’ve transformed your yard into a backyard bird habitat you probably realize squirrels are enjoying the place as much as the birds. Squirrels are rodents, whose teeth grow continuously, and they have to gnaw to wear their teeth down. However, you can do a few things to make it more difficult for squirrels to raid your feeder and force them to seek easier pickings elsewhere. Mobiles, opaque decorations and fruit tree netting outside windows also helps to deflect birds from the glass.
One of our Best Buys included a weight-activated mechanism that closes the feed ports whenever a squirrel climbs on it. Another came with a round cage surrounding the feeder that excludes all but the tiniest squirrels. A hot spray that contains capsaicin is the best type of squirrel deterrent for bird feeders, because squirrels are sensitive to the scent and taste. A method often used to keep squirrels off of birdfeeders is to baffle them with devices above or below the feeders. Cardinals are usually the first bird to feed in the morning and the last to feed at night, because they are ground feeders and with their bright color, feeding at these times are safer.
Try to fill your bird feeders with food that your squirrels won’t be interested in. Examples would include: safflower seed, white proso millet, and thistle. Squirrels can be a lot of fun to watch run around your yard and up on your trees and fences; however, you may enjoy them a bit less when they are chomping through your birdseed at an astonishing rate.
Theoretically, squirrels avoid the coated seed while birds are unaffected (just as in the wild, birds don’t respond to chile pepper heat, but mammals do). During spring migration, especially April and May, you can expect dozens of individuals at your feeder as they move north across the state. It is important to understand that squirrels are God’s creatures too and deserve their share of food and entertainment.
I will add that since we managed to stop our squirrels from getting access to our bird feeder, they have repaid us by stealing all (yes, I do mean all) the fruit from our fruit trees before they are ripe enough for us to eat them. Squirrels are great acrobats and can jump eight to ten feet, so put your feeder as high off the ground as possible (without placing it next to a tree where spry squirrels can climb or jump over to it).
To repel squirrels add a few plants to your flower borders that have a strong astringent fragrance such as artemisia or santolina. That hot pepper gets on their hands, and then they burn their eyes if they rub them, potentially blinding them. Squirrel baffles can be hung over your feeder, or mounted on a pole or post under your feeder. Plastic feeders should be reinforced with metal around the feeding ports to discourage squirrels. The baffles should be at least 15 inches wide and sloped to prevent squirrels from reaching around them. From the local wild bird store I bought a squirrel deterrent that attaches to the pole.
The bottom line is that you can keep them away from the house, attic, soffits, eaves, or chimney, and that’s the most important thing. At about three months of age, juvenile squirrels are on their own, sometimes remaining close to the nest until their parent’s next breeding period. If your feeder is mounted on a pole, position a downward opening cone or a biscuit tin fixed to the pole beneath the bird feeder/table. Since each piece of tubing rotates freely on the wire, it’s extremely difficult for squirrels to maintain their footing (and should provide a good show). Also…..the ‘hot’ bird food has been discovered to be harmful to the house finches.
It will only go off when the squirrels climb on (I’m guessing that the birds don’t dine in the presence of squirrels), and the startle should be fairly aversive. Each hickory tree is capable of producing over 5,000 hickory nuts in a season (it seems). A couple of weeks ago a peregrine falcon, probably swooping down at a bird near our feeder, smashed right into our back window. Some of feeders from Droll Yankees, Aspects and Duncraft come with guarantees against destruction by squirrels.
These can be as simple as one with a baffle to block the squirrels from climbing onto the feeder or a more high-tech version that has a perch that rapidly rotates when triggered by the weight of the squirrel. The Squirrel Buster range of seed feeders are weight activated and shut off feeding ports when a squirrel lands on them. The only way I’ve seen to effectively deal with squirrels is to use a bird feeder where the perches for the feeding are weight sensitive to close the feed opening.
The squirrels are eating the left overs from the ground while contemplating their next move. Some have found that setting up a separate area to feed squirrels away from your home and feeders helps to keep them at bay. Pole Baffles: If you hang your feeders from a freestanding pole, you can use a pole-mounted baffle to prevent squirrels from climbing up (poles without baffles are not squirrel-proof).
However I find it amazing just how ingenious the squirrels are – with one supposedly squirrel proof cage type seed feeder they discovered that if they simply hang off it and swing furiously from side to side then all the seed will be shaken out onto the grass. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can prevent squirrels from making a home in your house or yard, and all it takes for the most part is a little common sense.
If the dog spends his days in the yard (weather permitting, of course) the squirrels may move out. Another approach is to distract them by feeding them peanuts or dried ears of corn in a location some distance from your feeders. Squirrels have sharp teeth and strong jaws, and will chew through almost anything else, dropping the feeder to the ground. Just make sure the feeder sits at least 6 feet high and 10 feet away from trees or structures to prevent squirrels from reaching it.
Their incisors never stop growing, so they must chew constantly to keep them worn down. Baffles are still not the perfect answer; some squirrels can manage to wriggle around them. My neighbor solved his squirrel problem by stringing a fishing line from his garage to the house and suspending his bird feeder halfway across. If you want to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders, try saving a few scraps from your meals for them. But others don’t want to invite songbirds to their feeders only to be attacked.
If you live in an area where the night-time temperatures dip below freezing regularly, and you choose to feed the hummingbird, you will need to make sure your nectar feeder does not freeze. Gray Squirrels horde food in small caches throughout their territory, so they may dig it up later when needed. One way to do this is to choose bird feed that squirrels often pass by such as suet or safflower seeds. Place the pole ten feet away from any trees, fence or other structure from where the squirrel might jump. If you or your neighbors have cats that are outside, do not use this type of feeder.
We have found that roughly 1/8 of a cup per pound of seed works pretty well for us. It is also an option to use pepper flakes, though its easier for the squirrels to simply eat around them and therefore less effective. Some brands, e.g. Droll Yankee New GenerationTM tube feeders come with a lifetime guarantee against squirrel damage, but do not prevent squirrels accessing the food. While many people enjoy watching them and their antics, this article is for those who want to know how to keep them off their bird feeders.
I can easily set ten traps on a property and walk off with six or seven squirrels the next day, and relocate them ten miles away, and that really seems to drastically cut down on problems like this. Keep a water bottle filled with soapy water to spray your feeder to wash off the sugar water that has spilled. Like most squirrels they are rambunctious creatures who will get into just about anything you have out in your yard, including and especially your bird feeder. One easy way to challenge squirrels is to install a squirrel baffle above your bird feeder.