Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Bird Feeders© 2011 by TotallyBirds.com - All Rights Reserved
The easiest and best way to keep squirrels out of your bird feeders is to simply give them their own food supply and locate it as far away from your bird feeders as you can. Squirrels favorite foods are whole and shelled peanuts, corn-on-the-cob and whole kernel corn, and sunflower seeds. If you give squirrels what they want they are less likely to root through your bird feeders looking for these goodies.
However, sometimes the squirrels in your area are very persistent or your yard is not lard enough to set up a squirrel feeder far enough away from your bird feeders. In these situations, you have to be more proactive and use methods that deter squirrels from your bird feeders.
Squirrel Baffles and Shields
The most common squirrel deterrent is to make your bird feeders hard for squirrels to get at. This usually means placing baffles and shields above the feeders and on any poles that the feeders may be mounted on. In many situations, this will work, but if your local squirrels are very hungry, they will likely find a way to circumvent any baffles and shields. Squirrels are very crafty and intelligent creatures and they are very good at figuring things out.
Many years ago we hung a bird feeder outside a second story window. It was 10 feet from a deck and 20 feet from the nearest tree. We never thought that squirrels could get at a bird feeder positioned like this. However, the feeder was emptied onto the ground every day when we came home from work. One Saturday we were watching the feeder and saw a squirrel run across the deck, leap onto the rail, and launch himself toward the window. He bounced off of the window and grabbed onto the feeder, which he began to raid. It can be very hard to position a bird feeder in a way to protect it from a hungry squirrel.
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Taking this to the next level, there are many types of bird feeders that are engineered to deter squirrels. They are usually referred to as squirrel proof feeders. Passive squirrel proof feeders, like the product shown above, have cages built around the feeders. The cages are designed to let birds in, but the openings are too small to allow squirrels to enter. There are also active squirrel proof feeders that use baffles and springs to close off the access to food when the weight of a squirrel lands on the feeder. Both of these types of products work very well.
Other Squirrel Deterrents
There are food additives, such as Cole's Flaming Squirrel™ and Squirrel Away™ that use chilli pepper oil or Capsaicin as a additive to the wild bird food. Capsaicin is the part of capsicum peppers that makes the hot pepper so spicy. While birds cannot taste pepper spices and are unaffected by pepper in their food, squirrels hate peppers and therefore the food will taste very bad to them. This can be a very successful deterrent. There are some wild bird foods that already have pepper added to them to deter squirrels. These foods are usually labeled as containing a squirrel deterrent.
If you are having problems with squirrels raiding your bird feeders, we suggest that you start at the top of these recommendations and work your way down until you find a solution for keeping squirrels out of your bird feeders that fits your particular situation.