How to Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Nothing is quite as frustrating to a backyard bird lover as realizing that all of the costly bird seed you have placed in feeders for your feathered friends is being eaten by the squirrels instead. Although squirrels are cute and entertaining to watch, they can also cause problems for the birds you are trying to attract to your yard.
Some birds are frightened off by the furry creatures and will tend to avoid your feeders. Obviously, this defeats the purpose of placing the feeders out in the first place. Even though many types of birds are content to share their feeders with the furry fellows, the squirrels tend to be a bit greedy and will continue to frequent the feeder until is has been emptied. Squirrels may also cause damage to your bird feeders due to their ability to gnaw and claw through woods and plastics. Worst case scenario is that the squirrels could possibly even cause harm to your backyard birds by eating the eggs or young birds. Your mission here is to enjoy the birds and provide them with a steady diet of yummy seed. So what can be done to promote the birds using your feeders, while deterring the squirrels? A few things can be done to achieve squirrel proof bird feeders while allowing them to happily co-exist right there in your own backyard.
How to Place Your Bird Feeder to Make it Squirrel Proof
When placing your bird feeders, pay attention to where you put them. Remember, squirrels are great jumpers and can use trees, electrical wires, porches, garages, roofs, and just about any type of climbable surface to launch from. To ensure the safety of your bird feeders and your seed supply, place feeders in areas away from anything the squirrels might use to jump from. The furry critters can jump distances of about ten feet with ease, so add a few feet to that for good measure. Squirrel proof feeder poles are a great idea after you’ve chosen a location free from potential launching sites.You may opt to mount your bird feeders on metal poles six feet high or taller, to prevent the squirrels from being able to climb them. Choose your location well, as there should be a radius of about twelve feet around all sides of the feeder if you truly want to keep the unwelcome critters out. As a word of caution, never attempt to apply grease to the feeder pole. This is detrimental to the squirrels as the grease may stick to their fur, causing illness. You don’t want to harm the squirrels, just keep them out of your bird feeders.
Placing mesh around your bird feeders is also inexpensive way to make your bird feeders squirrel proof. Openings should be small enough to keep critters from entering, yet still be large enough to allow for easy passage for smaller birds. You may purchase some types of bird feeders that come with cages surrounding them, which is the same idea as adding the mesh. These types of squirrel proof bird feeders also tend to prevent larger birds such as starlings or pigeons from using the feeder, so keep this in mind if those types of birds are welcome at your feeder.
Another idea that may work to prevent squirrel intrusion at your bird feeders, is to supply the squirrels a feed station elsewhere in your yard. Keep any such area well ways from the bird feeders, and supply alternative foods, such as cobs of corn or nuts. If you are lucky, the squirrels may come to know this is their area, and that the bird feeders are meant for the birds.It’s certainly worth a try and is a good compromise to keep both the furry and feathered friends happy.
Other Ways of Squirrel Proofing Bird feeders
Adding baffles made of metal or smooth plastic materials is also a good deterrent for squirrels. These baffles work throw squirrels off balance during it’s attempts to gain access to the feeder. Baffles should be sloped and a minimum of fifteen inches wide. Making spinners is also effective at keeping critters out of your bird feeders. Hang your feeder from a thin horizontal wire and then proceed to use readily available household items to string across this wire on each side. You can use such items as plastic soda or water bottles, empty thread or craft ribbon spools, or short lengths of PVC pipe. Basically, use anything that you can easily thread through the wire that will spin if a squirrel attempts to walk the wire, preventing him from doing so. You can also use a squirrel proof bird feeder pole.
Another way to stop squirrels from bothering your bird feeders is to make the food offered uninteresting to them. Squirrels are equally attracted to many seed types often found in bird feeders. By choosing seed types that are less appealing to the squirrels, but that will still bring birds to your yard, you’ve created a win-win situation. Offering nyger and safflower seeds to your birds will work to keep critters at bay. You can also choose to spice up other types of seed that you already have purchased. Adding cayenne pepper to your existing seed will keep squirrels away but the birds won’t mind it, nor is it harmful to them. Cayenne pepper will need to be applied regularly and with caution, because it can really burn and sting if you inhale or come into contact with it.
If you would rather skip all of the fixes involved in creating a squirrel proof bird feeder, you can simply buy them “squirrel proof”.Many companies offer feeders with interesting features designed to keep critters from gaining access to the goods. Some even feature a special door that will close when set off by the weight of the intruder, restricting access to the food inside. When comparing several squirrel proof bird feeder reviews, two in particular stand out as being rated very highly. The Brome 1015 Squirrel Buster Classic, as well as the Brome 1024 Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring ,both received an average of around 4.3 stars out of five after several hundred reviews.
Bird watching can be very enjoyable and your winged pals will thank you for supplying them with fresh seed, especially during harsh winter months, by frequenting your feeders. Never resort to anything such as using toxic chemicals or poisons, or other inhumane methods to attempt to keep squirrels or other critters away, as you are not only harming them, but the environment, and possibly the very birds you are attempting to feed. Squirrels can be a problem, but by using these suggestions, you should be able to achieve harmony in your backyard by setting up squirrel proof bird feeders.