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How Can I Squirrel Proof My Bird Feeder?

Updated on February 27, 2015

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.

Good Luck!

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    • DIYmommy profile image

      Julie 4 years ago

      Gail Meyers-I'm glad you found the hub useful! Bird watching is one of my most favorite hobbies, I hope you enjoy your new bird feeder that you get this year!

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 4 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      These are great tips, but I have to admit that I love watching them actually succeed in feeding in our bird feeders! They are so cute!

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Great list of tips! Making the seeds less appealing by choosing types the squirrels don't love is a great idea. My mom is a bit of a bird feeder fanatic, so I saw lots of squirrels at our feeders growing up. At one point we started enjoying watching the squirrels as much as the birds. Like you said, they're just doing what comes naturally (and looking pretty darn cute while doing it). :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great tips. I am a sucker for squirrels so I really don't mind if they think the bird feeders are a buffet. Actually what I think has happened is I have said, you win. I have made all kinds of feeding areas for the squirrels alone and they still find the bird feeders appetizing...kind of like the old grass is greener thing, you know.

      It is time to try again...I love my little squirrels so I won't try too hard :)

      Sending Angels your way ps

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the good ideas. I meant to get a bird feeder last year and I'm going to be sure to get one this year. I enjoy watching both the birds and squirrels, but I did not think about the squirrels robbing the bird feeder. I will keep these ideas in mind. Voted up and useful.