Do you have a bird feeder in your yard?
If so, you may be having problems with pesky squirrels trying to get at the food.
This can be frustrating, especially when you are trying to enjoy watching the birds.
In this blog post, we will discuss 11 proven ways to keep squirrels off bird feeders.
We will also cover some harmful methods that you should avoid using.
Keep reading for tips on how to make your bird-feeding experience fun and squirrel-free.
11 Proven Ways To Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders
As the temperatures drop and winter starts to set in, squirrels have to look for food sources more carefully.
And one of their favorite places to find a meal? Bird feeders!
If you love birds as most bird enthusiasts do, you probably don’t want squirrels stealing from your bird feeder.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep squirrels away from your feeders.
Method 1: Place Bird Feeders Away From Trees
One of the best ways to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder is to place the feeder far from any trees or other tall structures, in an open area at least 5 feet off the ground.
Squirrels are excellent climbers and often use tree branches to reach bird feeders.
By making it difficult for them to access the food, they will be less likely to try and raid it.
Method 2: Hang Bird Feeders With Wire
Another effective way to keep squirrels off your bird feeder is to hang it with wire.
This will make it more difficult for squirrels to cling to the feeder, and they will eventually give up and look for an easier meal.
Just be sure that the wire is strong enough to support the weight of the full feeder, otherwise, you’ll end up with a mess on the ground.
Method 3: Invest In A Squirrel-proof Feeder
There are also special types of bird feeders that are designed to be “squirrel-proof.”
These usually have a weight-activated perch that closes off access to the feeding area when a heavier animal, like a squirrel, tries to land on it.
Some models have a baffle that prevents animals from being able to reach the feeding area from any direction.
Of course, nothing is 100% effective, but investing in a squirrel-proof feeder is one of the best ways to deter these pesky critters.
Method 4: Buy A Squirrel-proof Feeder Pole
A squirrel-proof feeder pole may be a good investment if you are having trouble with squirrels raiding your bird feeder.
This is one of the most commonly used methods to keep squirrels away from bird feeders.
These poles often have a baffle near the top that keeps scavenging rodents away from the food.
Method 5: Attach A Slinky To The Feeder Pole
A slinky may be draped over the feeder pole as a deterrent.
The flexible toy will impede squirrels from climbing up the pole and feeding from the feeder.
This is an easy, inexpensive, and entertaining approach to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder. If the slinky gets damaged or destroyed, replace it right away.
Method 6: Grease The Feeder Pole
If you’re looking for a DIY solution, you can try greasing the feeder pole with cooking spray.
The slippery surface will make it difficult for squirrels to get a good grip on the pole, and they’ll eventually give up and look for an easier meal elsewhere.
Just be sure to reapply the grease every few days, as rain and humidity can cause it to degrade quickly.
Method 7: Buy A Squirrel Baffle
Even if you hang your birdfeeder from a wire or chain, savvy squirrels may still be able to figure out how to climb up and raid the bird seeds.
One way to deter them is by placing a baffle above and below the feeder.
A baffle is simply a dome-shaped piece of metal or plastic that surrounds the feeder and makes it impossible for animals to get past.
You can find commercially made baffles at most hardware or home improvement stores, or you can easily make your own out of a coffee can or plastic bucket lid.
Just be sure whatever material you use is weather resistant and won’t rust or degrade over time.
Method 8: Offer Food Squirrels Don’t Like
If you’re not having any luck keeping squirrels away with physical barriers, another option is to try changing up the type of bird food you’re offering.
Believe it or not, there are some types of seeds that squirrels simply don’t like.
By offering these seeds in your bird feeders, you may be able to deter even the most persistent critters.
Some good options include safflower seed, nyjer seed, and white proso millet.
You can find these seeds at most pet stores or online retailers that sell birding supplies.
Method 9: Keep Squirrels Away With Hot Peppers
Another popular method for keeping squirrels away from bird feeders is to coat the seed with a hot pepper solution.
You can make your own by mixing one part cayenne pepper with ten parts water.
Then, simply soak your birdseed in the mixture overnight and allow it to dry before adding it to the feeder.
The capsaicin in the pepper will deter squirrels from eating the seed while having no adverse effects on birds.
Method 10: Keep The Feeder Area Clean
Moreover, keeping the area around your bird feeders clean can also help deter squirrels.
Remove any fallen seed or hulls from beneath the feeders, as these provide an easy meal for squirrels and can attract other pests like rats and mice.
Sweeping away debris regularly will also make it more difficult for squirrels to climb up to the feeders in the first place.
Method 11: Feed Squirrels Separately
You may also give squirrels food with this method. Simply provide a squirrel feeder and fill it with food that is tailored for them.
Squirrels will have their own food source and won’t need to pillage your bird feeder as a result.
Just keep in mind that if the squirrel feeder is placed too near to the bird feeders, squirrels will consume them as well.
What Harmful Methods You Shouldn’t Use To Keep Squirrels Off?
No one wants squirrels in their yard. They can be pesky, harm your garden, and just be a general nuisance.
Many people turn to harmful methods to get rid of them but there are much better, more humane ways.
Here are three methods you should never use to try to keep squirrels off your property.
No Lethal Trap
One of the most common methods people use to get rid of squirrels is by setting a trap.
While this may seem like an effective way to remove them, it can actually do more harm than good.
First and foremost, some lethal traps can kill squirrels which are inhumane and go against what many people stand for.
In addition, if you do kill the squirrel, you then have the added task of disposing of the carcass which no one wants to do.
Finally, traps don’t always work as intended and you may end up trapping other animals such as birds or rabbits which was not your intention.
Another harmful method people use is poison. The problem with poison is that it’s not discriminant.
So not only will it kill the squirrels that are eating your food or destroying your garden, but it will also kill other animals and possibly even your pets who come into contact with it.
In addition, if a child were to find the poison, they could easily ingest it which could cause serious health problems or even death.
Poison should never be used as a way to get rid of any type of animal including squirrels.
No Glue and Other Adhesives
The third harmful method people use is glue and other adhesives.
When the animal tries to free itself, it often rips its skin and fur which can lead to infection.
If they are unable to free themselves, they will eventually die a slow and painful death.
No animal deserves to die in such a manner so adhesive should never be used as a way to keep them off your property or anywhere else.
Squirrels may become a nuisance if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
They raid your bird feeders and spoil your bird-watching enjoyment.
By following the eleven simple methods, you can keep squirrels away from your bird feeders and let the beautiful birds enjoy their meal without disturbance.