How Can I Squirrel Proof My Bird Feeder?
Seed is for the Birds: Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Few people will claim to actually keep squirrels as a pet. Likewise, like rats or other rodents, they oftentimes prove to be more of a nuisance--making one question their real purpose in the world. Growing up in a back wood's home, admittedly I am no stranger to squirrels and their presence throughout our property. With several bird feeders, these squirrels were drawn to the contents like a magnet. Bothered by this, it was not uncommon for my dad to go to extremes and remedy the problem by simply shooting the squirrel. While this is certainly an option, I personally prefer more peaceful remedies or measures, regardless of just how annoying and damaging any animal is being to our property.
Naturally, squirrels are drawn to bird feeders, but there are many solutions to peacefully handle them, while protecting your feeder, besides shooting them. The below hub will show you how!
So, are your feeders looking low? Are birds nowhere to be found? And is there a particularly fat and happy looking little squirrel in your backyard? It looks like you've got yourself a furry little freeloader. Sounds like you need to make your bird feeders squirrel proof.
A hungry squirrel will gobble up all the seed in your feeder very quickly, and scare away the birds you're trying to attract in the process. Here are some ways to keep the food going to your feathered friends, and keep your bird seed away from squirrels.
Block Their Access: Keeping Squirrels Off Bird Feeders
The most obvious way to make your bird feeders squirrel proof is to block their access. This can be done in a number of ways.
Watch how the squirrels get to your feeder, and figure out a method to block their path.
You can try using a cage or netting with holes only large enough for birds to fit through. Some feeders are specifically designed with openings small enough that only birds can access the seed. Of course this prevents larger birds from feeding.
If you find squirrels are are dropping down from above, try attaching a smooth metal or acrylic plastic bowl directly over the feeder, like an umbrella. This might involve some clever drilling. Anytime the squirrel jumps on it, he should slide right off. The are some squirrel proof bird feeders out there that include this feature.
Keep It Clean: Squirrel Proof Your Bird Feeders
Clean up the seed off the ground. Birds are notoriously messy, and with tons of seed lying around all over the ground, squirrels are bound to be attracted to your backyard. Less spilled seed, fewer squirrels to discover the source. The best squirrel proof bird feeder is one that leaves no evidence of its existence to the pesky rodents.
Also trim back bushes, plants and branches that hang near the feeder. Squirrels can jump over 12 feet, so any nearby plant life provides easy access to their favorite treats. Ensuring that your bird feeders are squirrel proof may require some creative planning.
Go To the Source: Make Your Bird Feeder Squirrel Proof
The seed is what they're after, so making the seed less appealing will help solve your squirrel problem. Squirrels love sunflower seeds, but they're less fond of other seeds that birds like, such as niger (or nyger) seed. Experiment with your birdseed choice and find a mix that they aren't too keen on.
Also, I've heard that birds do not taste the spicy effects of pepper, so try sprinkling some of that on the seed to ward the squirrels off.
This Time It's Personal: Keep Squirrels Off Your Feeders
You can 'scarecrow' the squirrels yourself. I don't suggest rushing the feeder every time a squirrel appears, but a nice handy spray bottle full of water works wonderfully to startle away those little interlopers.
Likewise, any automated system that can startle them might work. However, this will scare off the birds too. It's probably better to go with one of the aforementioned techniques to squirrel-proof your bird feeders.
Don't Be Hatin'
Remember, squirrels are just doing what comes naturally, seeking out convenient sources of tasty food. Please don't hurt, shoot or otherwise traumatize them - there are ways to make your bird feeders squirrel proof without going to extremes. Use the methods above and you should have some success.