How To Keep Squirrels Away From Bird Feeders

Last week, we shared a tip from an anonymous Cheapster who discovered Vicks VapoRub — that smelly ointment meant to relieve cough symptoms — is also pretty good at keeping ants out of her house. I also switched to safflower seeds (the squirrels don’t like these) in the birds’ hanging platform tray. Well, it all boils down to one simple biological fact – squirrels have a lot more time to commit to the effort and a lot more motivation (their own survival) to keep up the fight. Purchase a feeder with a built-in cage or make your own with mesh purchased from your local hardware store. And if you handle pepper powder or flakes, wash your hands with soap and water immediately afterward, or wear gloves so you don’t forget and rub your eyes.

Most are just mothballs or predator urine, and squirrels absolutely don’t care about these repellents. Wooden parts of feeders should be made of weather-resistant cedar or be stained or painted to protect against moisture. But – placing the bird feeder further away from our deck and adding a baffle really helped. Some people think that squirrels gnaw on certain types of fruit or vegetables like tomatoes or pumpkins because they are thirsty, and they suggest putting out a bird bath so that they have an alternative to drink from. Types of exclusion feeders include those with cages, baffles and weighted hoppers. Keep squirrels out of exhaust fans and chimneys (and help them out if they fall in).

Keeping a feeder near your house also reduces injuries to birds caused by flying into the reflective window since they can’t build up enough speed to hurt themselves. Deer become pests often at night, they will graze on dropped seed and become feeder pests when they beat your feeders and knock the feed out. The hot pepper irritates their mouths, and in turn, makes them less likely to continue eating the birdseed.

Weight-Activated Base: When a squirrel lands on the base, the feeder tips over and feeding ports close, so the squirrel cannot balance or feed. During migration, individual hawks may appear at a feeder for only a few minutes, and there’s little anyone can do to discourage them. When cardinals are not at your feeders they eat at least 51 different kinds of insects and 33 kinds of blossoms, seeds and fruits.

Of bird seed you have at home and you’ll be pleased to see you just made squirrel-proof bird seed. The baffle on a pole should be attached at least 4 feet above the ground and extend out at least 2 feet. Squirrel-proof feeders are rarely 100% squirrel-proof, but many are engineered in such a way that it is very difficult for squirrels to reach the bird food.


Jones said he sells cayenne pepper flavored suet and a special, liquid hot sauce on the seed that needs to soak in before using. Issues also feature news, editorial content and special events to keep our readers informed on the latest changes in the industry. People have gotten truly creative with caging ideas to keep squirrels out, such as using chicken wire to hover over a bird feeder and tomato plants. But squirrels can find a way around this if they have a location nearby where they can jump from onto the birdfeeder.

In addition, make sure the feeder is at least 10 feet away from significantly taller potential launching pads for squirrels like trees or houses. Location: Squirrels can jump distances of at least 8 feet or greater, so any feeder should be placed well away from trees, wires, and other launching points to make it more difficult for squirrels to get on the feeder. Baby squirrels are often found on the ground after a storm has blown down a nest. With all of their clever tricks, it can seem impossible to keep squirrels out of bird feeders. The squirrels then climb to the ground, harvest the meal, or carry it off to a storage site.

That is, athletic squirrels can jump ten feet horizontally and five feet vertically. Rig the feeders with a weight activated alarm, something that gives off a shrill noise, flashing lights, or both. When squirrels jump onto the top of the feeder, they land on the squirrel proof baffle and immediately lose their footing. Then use feeders that will entertain their clever minds as well as satisfy their hunger, such as our Squirrel-In-A-Jar Feeder Keep squirrel feeders stocked at all times, so they are not tempted to stray.

A baffle can also be hung above a feeder to prevent squirrels from climbing down to a feeder. A more effective way of repelling squirrels is by using bitter gels or topical applications on areas they are trying to chew through. Optionally, spray the bird seed with an aerosol kitchen oil product, or use a non-aerosol mister to apply the oil, before applying the pepper so it clings to the seeds. Also, where it is clear, it is close enough for the squirrels to jump to it and reach the feeder. All it requires is attaching the Slinky to the top of the bird feeder pole and letting it hang down to the ground.

Many squirrel feeders are designed to make the most of a squirrel’s natural antics. The sprays that many stores offer are also practically ineffective to most squirrels. These squirrels are fun to watch, but can sometimes be overwhelming for property owners. If you find a banded pigeon, contact the American Racing Pigeon Union to connect a lost bird to its owner.

Also make sure the bottom of the feeder is at least 4 ½ feet off the ground and that the feeder hangs at least 8 feet away from a tree trunk, yard hook, or other sideways” launching spot for attracting squirrels. Some of the ones I’ve seen are evening grosbeaks, spruce grouse, hairy, Downey, and redheaded woodpeckers, and nuthatches at our suet feeders.

These unpaid volunteers are not required to come pick up a bird and they do not work for Audubon or Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Use wire to place the nest as close to the old nest as possible in a tree or in a shrub and try to give it some cover to avoid sunlight and rain. Remember that permits are required in order to legally handle or keep wild birds.