How You Can Squirrel Proof Your Hanging Bird Feeder
Squirrel on my Bird Feeder
Are You Feeding Squirrels Instead of Birds?
If you have a bird feeder at your house to attract birds, you probably have attracted some squirrels also. I love feeding and watching the birds, but the squirrels were scaring away the birds and eating all of the food. I needed to find a way to squirrel proof my bird feeder.
Purple House Finch on Bird Feeder
I Want to Attract the Birds
I love to attract birds to my yard, so when we moved into this house in the country, my husband hung a bird feeder from the eave of the house, right outside our living room window, so we could watch the birds. This did attract many different birds, but it also attracted the squirrels. They would simply climb the tree, get on the roof and climb down the chain to the bird feeder. I was filling up the bird feeder everyday!
Our Second Attempt
For our second attempt, we moved the feeder closer to the house and away from the edge. We didn't think the squirrels could get under the eave of the house to get to the feeder. However, the squirrels would actually get a run at the house and manage to run right up the wall and jump out onto the feeder. It’s amazing what little acrobats they are. So, that didn’t work either, but we did get a few laughs watching the squirrels.
Our Third Attempt
On our third attempt to keep the squirrels off the bird feeder, we tried hanging the bird feeder from a tree, as far out on a limb as possible. That didn’t work either, if the squirrels couldn’t walk that far out on the limb, they would actually jump from the tree trunk out to the bird feeder. I am impressed at how agile they are. Of course, when they jump out onto the feeder, seeds go everywhere!
Different Types of Feeders
We tried different types of bird feeders. The wooden bird feeders didn’t work as squirrels can chew through wood like a little rat. We tried the plastic feeders that with smaller holes for the seed to fall through, that didn’t work either. Squirrels chew through the plastic like it isn’t even there, making larger holes they can stick their little hands through. I think we went through three bird feeders that year! The last bird feeder we bought hung from a wire instead of a small chain. The squirrels would just climb down the wire with no problem. I even sprayed the wire and the top of the bird feeder with cooking spray trying to make it too slippery for them. Now that was a show! The squirrels would slide down the wire and hit the top of the bird feeder and slide right off! We had many a good laugh over that, but what a sticky mess. Then I found out that the oil was not good for the squirrels or the birds, so I had to stop that.
Old Satellite Dish
I was getting desperate! I wanted a bird feeder close to the house, so I could really watch the birds, but I was getting tired of having to knock on the window to scare away the squirrels all the time. Then my ingenious husband came up with a great idea! We had recently changed out satellite service and had a small satellite dish that we weren’t using. The dish is about 16-18 inches around. He drilled a hole in the center of the dish and ran an S-hook through the hole. Then he welded it in place. (The welding isn’t really necessary, but he is "Mr. Perfectionist".) Then he hung the small chain from the S-hook and hung the feeder from the chain. For the first attempt, he took the dish and attached it about two feet above the bird feeder.
My Squirrel Proofed Bird Feeder
Success at Last!
It worked! The squirrels could climb down the wire, but when they hit the satellite dish, they couldn’t balance and would fall off. It only took a couple of times of them falling off before they wouldn’t try any longer. Only one problem here, when the wind blew, the bird feeder would swing around in a circle so wildly that it would sling bird food everywhere. To fix that problem, my husband moved the satellite dish further up the wire, closer to the branch it was hanging from. Now when the wind blows the bird feeder just sways slightly as it normally would. My squirrel problem was solved!
Some Additional Ideas
Now I know not everyone is going to have a small satellite dish lying around, but you could use a sturdy aluminum pie plate or cut a piece of thin plywood into a circle. A large plastic or aluminum bowl would work too. You want something between the tree limb and the bird feeder that will not support the squirrel as he tries to make his way down to the feeder. Be sure that the feeder is hanging far enough from the tree that the squirrel can't just jump from the tree to the feeder.
Now life is as it should be. I have birds at my bird feeder and the squirrels are on the ground finding the bird seeds that the birds have dropped.
I hope my article has given you a good way to squirrel proof your bird feeder and keep the birds on the feeder and squirrels off!
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