How You Can Squirrel Proof Your Hanging Bird Feeder

Squirrel on my Bird Feeder

This cute little squirrel is eating all the sunflower seeds.
This cute little squirrel is eating all the sunflower seeds. | Source

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

Purple house finch on my bird feeder.
Purple house finch on my bird feeder. | Source

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.


Brown Squirrel

This cute little fox tail squirrel is about to jump onto my bird feeder.
This cute little fox tail squirrel is about to jump onto my bird feeder. | Source

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

Satellite Dish will keep the squirrels from crawling down the chain.
Satellite Dish will keep the squirrels from crawling down the chain. | Source

Desperation

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

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder | Source

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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Comments 16 comments

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hello Sunshine! We have laughed so hard at those squirrels before. Sometimes, I would swear I can hear them cursing at us. I am very lucky, hubby is very ingenious! The squirrels still hang around for us to watch, but now they stay on the ground or in the tree, not on the bird feeder! Thank you for stopping by and commenting, I always enjoy hearing from you! Have a wonderful day! :)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

That's a great idea! I'd enjoy watching the squirrels trying to figure out how to get to the seeds. Haha! I like the plastic bowl method. Kudos to you and your hubby! :)


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hi Peggy! You would have just cracked up if you had watched these squirrels trying to get on the bird feeder after I greased it down! They were hysterical! They are so cute, it's hard to get too mad at them. I still get to watch them as they always under the bird feeder now, snacking on what the birds drop. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub and I thank you for your comment and votes! Have a great day! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Sheila,

This hub had me smiling from beginning to end as you described all of the failed efforts at squirrel proofing your bird feeder until you finally struck on that last ingenious idea. They surely are acrobatic and smart little creatures. Up, useful, funny and interesting votes. :))


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

We have never been able to keep the squirrels off the bird feeder until hubby came up with this idea. It has been a little over a year now and I have only seen 1 squirrel on the bird feeder. I think he just got lucky with a good long jump from the tree! Sounds like you have everything you need to give it a try. I hope it works out for your as well! I told hubby he needs to start selling these! Thank you for your kind comments and support. It is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

What a clever idea! I have a large squirrel baffle about the size of your old satellite dish. I also have some chain and an 's' hook. Now all I have to do is find a branch that's high enough and far enough away from the tree to hang this from! This is ingenious and probably should be patented and sold to us bird/squirrel lovers! Thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of this great hub. Voted Up across the board and pinned.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

This sounds like it would work too! Great job. We totally enjoyed watching the squirrels slide off the top of the birdfeeder when we oiled it! Thank you for stopping in and leaving such a great comment! Have a great day! :)


Stephen 4 years ago

I finally did something that is (so far) foolproof. I hung my feeders from a thin nylon rope strung between two objects (fence post and arbour post) about 12 feet apart and high enough so the the feeders are about 5 feet away from either post and from the ground. Then I put a three foot length of foam pipe insulation on either side of the feeders so that when the squirrels, mice, and ground squirrels try to walk across it, they roll off. So far so good and it's rather perversely fun to watch them make leaps from the ground and mad dashed across the foam... it's cheap entertainment.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hello L.L. Squirrels are very fast learners! But, so far so good. We have had this up for about 6 months now and still no squirrels on the bird feeder! Thank you for stoppin by and reading, commenting, voting and sharing! It is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

Thanks for sharing this practical way to keep squirrels out of bird feeders.

I had seen a program some years ago where someone was trying to devise a squirrel-proof bird feeder. It was amazing to watch how quickly the little animals learned how to get past the various devices!

Voted up and SHARED.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hi resumewizard. I love watching the squirrels too, just not as they are eating all the bird seed! :) I hope your husband gives this a try, it is the only thing we have found that works! If he has any questions, let me know. Thank you for commenting! Have a great day! :)


resumewizard profile image

resumewizard 4 years ago

This has long been a problem at our house. I will clue my husband in to this method immediately and hope for a future watching birds enjoy our offering rather than those silly squirrels. BTW, I adore squirrels, just not in my birdfeeder!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Hello badegg. Yes it is and I think squirrels are smarter than we give them credit for. Thank you for commenting on my hub. Have a great day! :)


badegg profile image

badegg 4 years ago from Southern Appalachians

It is amazing what animals can figure out!


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub, Sweetie Pie! We tried so many different things, to no avail, until my husband came up with this. It works great. Have a great day! :)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

Squirrels are cunning little creatures, so hopefully people can use your hub to devise a plan for keeping them out of bird feeders.

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