How To Stop Those Pesky Squirrels From Eating From Your Bird Feeder
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t deny the cuteness of cuddly, fury squirrels. Full of energy and antics, these busy creatures are always on the go, wreaking havoc everywhere on your property. Potted plants, flowerbeds, and homeowner’s lawns are some of their favorite targets.
However, if there’s one place that these freeloaders love to raid for a free snack, it’s your bird feeders! let's take a look at the best rated squirrel proof bird feeder on the market, and then review a few DIY methods you can use in the next 5 minutes to stop the squirrels in their tracks!
The Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
If mucking around with the DIY methods (see below) is not for you, go straight to buying a squirrel proof bird feeder.
There are a range of options on the market and some are better than others, but the absolute top rated squirrel proof bird feeder is:
The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder (with Cardinal Perch Ring)
Why It's So Great:
- It's hands off & super effective - the squirrel's weight triggers automatic closing of bird feeder.
- It's super easy to clean and refill (you can even put it in the dishwasher)
- Lifetime warranty!
Stopping Squirrels D.I.Y Style
It’s hard to outwit squirrels, especially those that have been around humans. No sooner do you come up with a clever idea to foil their attempts at snacking on your bird feeder, that they devise ingenious counter measures.
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However, here are 4 simple and creative ways to prevent squirrels from getting at your bird feeder with common household materials:
1. Spring them a surprise
Slinky’s have amused humans – young and old alike – for a while now. But did you know that they can also be used to protect your bird feeder from squirrel raids?
- Slide a Slinky through the feeder’s pole, about half way up the pole
- Fasten the top of the device to the pole, leaving the bottom unfastened
- As the squirrel climbs up the pole and grabs a hold of the bottom of the Slinky, it will find itself promptly being bounced back down onto the ground.
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The advantage of this method is that it is relatively cheap – under $5.00 a pop. The downside however is that if you place the device too high up the pole, it could make for a rather nasty fall for the squirrel, especially if there are rocks or concrete at the bottom. And when mounted too low, it will prove no match for the squirrel to overcome.
If the rings of the spring are sharp, it could cut through the flesh or skin of squirrels who persistently try to scale the springy barrier.
Additionally, if the animals inadvertently get their paws, claws or tails trapped in the rings of the Slinky, it could leave them dangling there for hours/days or even worse, strangle them to death.
The verdict: a quick and easy 'band-aid solution' to your squirrel problems.
2. The Pipe Dream
If your bird feeder is hanging on a cable or clothes line, you can easily squirrel-proof the line:
- String lengths of PVC pipe at two ends of the line
- Hang the feeder in between the two pieces of PVC pipe
- The squirrel will traverse the length of the cable/line up until it reaches the PVC pipe. Then, as it tries to move further, it will spin around endlessly on the free-rolling PVC pipe, making reaching the snacking stations a pipe dream!
While this is a simple and affordable way to prevent squirrels from raiding your bird feeder, it may also deter some birds from visiting the station, as they may become victims of the pipe-dream deterrent themselves.
The verdict: a quick and easy option when your bird feeder is on a line of some sort, however, don't expect it to look appealing to the eye!
3. Squirrel Dish Deterrent's (Squirrel Baffles)
For homeowners who wish to keep it simple, here’s a clever way to frustrate even the most determined of squirrels from getting to your bird feeder:
- Cut a hole into a slippery plastic (or metal) salad or serving dish
- Make sure the dish isn’t shallow, but is deep in its design
- Mount the bowl upside-down onto the feeder post, several feet from the ground, creating a miniature umbrella half-way up the post
- As the Squirrel climbs up the post and reaches the dish, it will be unable to get past the umbrella head
- If, somehow, the animal manages to reach the top of the umbrella, the slippery surface will ensure it can’t get a foothold to proceed forward
While this contraption can easily be rigged up with household material – and is relatively inexpensive and quick to do – there is one downside to it.
If there are other structures nearby – like fences, lamp posts or trees and bushes – the squirrel could use them to bypass the “umbrella head” and proceed to the prize waiting at the top.
The verdict: The best option for stopping squirrels on their way to your bird feeder when there are no 'bridging' structures within 2 meters. The DIY is not difficult however you'll find a nice range of neat looking dish deterrents on Amazon.com. Check them out here
4. Slippery Climb
One of the easiest way to squirrel-proof post-mounted bird feeders is to ensure that the squirrels can’t climb up the post itself:
- Replace the wooden mounting pole with one made of slippery material, like PVC or buffed metal
- Alternately, if the post cannot be replaced, wrap slippery PVC or sheet metal around it, ensuring that a length of several feet from ground above is covered in the slippery sheathe
While this technique works well where the bird feeder is located on open grounds, it may not work too well if there are nearby structures that the creatures can use to circumvent the slippery barrier.
As well, you may need to conduct regular maintenance checks of the contraption to ensure the PVC or metal aren’t damaged by the elements, especially in harsher climates.
Remember: Squirrels Are Smart
Squirrels are rather ingenious creatures, and can quickly learn to thwart any attempt at keeping them away from their favorite bird feed.
Where possible, it may be a good idea to mix and match these various squirrel-proofing techniques, just to keep these intelligent animals on their paws (no pun intended!).
We recommend that you choose the best squirrel proof bird feeder for you based on your own bird feeder location and specifics, however the strategies above will most definitely work for 99% of cases. For more great information and tips on how to stop squirrels from eating your bird food, check out these 10 tips.
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