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I do not See Birds, but the Seeds are Gone.

Updated on June 13, 2015

I did research.

I discovered the squirrel baffle.
I discovered the squirrel baffle. | Source
I read the bird magazines.
I read the bird magazines. | Source

Window feeder

My winter friend - The Blue tit - is one of the many birds to be attracted to free food over the winter months. It is a delight to sit at the house window a watch them feed.
My winter friend - The Blue tit - is one of the many birds to be attracted to free food over the winter months. It is a delight to sit at the house window a watch them feed. | Source
Taken from my workstation at home - well I'm easily distracted - in appalling low light and through the window. These images are therefore soft and noisy.
Taken from my workstation at home - well I'm easily distracted - in appalling low light and through the window. These images are therefore soft and noisy. | Source

How I got rid of the squirrel:

When I began bird watching I believe that my first feeder was a window feeder. Only the birds came to that one. Next I had several types of feeders which were all placed in one location. It was placed a good distance away from the house. I did research on how to do this and discovered feeder poles. I bought a single pole which had five hooks for the feeders. It was placed into the ground and the feeders were hung on the hooks.

At first all went well. The birds discovered it and told their friends who told their friends and soon the feeders were crowded. I was pleased. Then I noticed that the birds had been coming less and less and I wondered why. I soon found out that a squirrel had discovered the seeds and was eating them. In the beginning I was chasing it away but it kept coming back.

I had to find another way. Again I researched and soon came across the ‘squirrel baffles’. I looked on the Internet, in catalogs, bird magazines, and I compared them until I found one which I liked the price and results of. The squirrel could not get past it and the birds returned to the feeders! I had no other pests.

Crafty Gray Squirrel at bird feeder

An eastern gray squirrel in British Columbia, Canada. It is reaching out for a bird feeder, while clinging upside down to a rough surface.
An eastern gray squirrel in British Columbia, Canada. It is reaching out for a bird feeder, while clinging upside down to a rough surface. | Source

Squirrels are sly ones:

They are able to climb trees. Everyone knows that because trees are their habitat. Up in the trees they learned to jump from branch to branch when they were young in order to obtain food as way to stay alive. So they also do this down here in our habitat of fences, wires, and such. They can also climb metal poles, brick walls, plastic poles and other types of walls.

They walk along fences made of wood, metal, iron, stone. They walk telephone wires, television wires, - (you have to touch wire and the ground at the same time to receive a shock) - clotheslines.

They are hard to get rid of. There are squirrel baffles which do this. They have made ones which seem to be motionless. As soon as squirrells land on these baffles they spin like crazy and throw them off again. They try several times but eventually give up. Others are to slanted and/or slippery for the squirrells to hold onto.

There are also bird feeders to keep squirrells away. Such as the one which closes each time that the squirrell lands upon it. I have photos of various others throughout the Hub.

Pole feeder

Shown is a version of a two hook pole feeder. They can come as one piece or or more than one piece.
Shown is a version of a two hook pole feeder. They can come as one piece or or more than one piece. | Source

The pests that eat the seeds:

You can always get up at the crack of dawn and stay beside the window to watch the feeders until the squirrels go to their nests for the night. It would involve going outside to chase them from the feeders every time that they come to them. The problem with that is they will keep coming back and eating the seeds again. Also, the more that you keep doing it this way, the more daring they will get until the minute you turn your back and you have taken 2 steps away they will return. You will also lose much time in doing your normal house chores.

There are other ways that work better. Have you heard of the squirrel ‘baffle’? It looks like an upside-down bowl and there are many types. The main type which is used is for the pole feeder. In order to use that one you also have to have your feeder(s) on pole(s). The poles may come with one, two or several hooks. The poles may also come assembled in one piece or you you may have to assemble more than one piece which are very simple to attach. Inserting into the ground has the center prong plus others which can be one to four other prongs. Normally it has a pointed end for this.

Then there is the wrap around baffle. It is generally used on square wooden posts (4”x 4” – 5”x 5”). The posts are inserted into the ground by digging holes slightly larger than the posts - I believe approximately 2' deep - (that is up to you). Then attaching the feeders and the baffle.

You can also get one which hangs from a hook but I believe that the baffles usually come without the hook which means that you have to supply that part.

I had my most recent feeder on a string and I made a homemade baffle. If you are interested in that just ask.

There are feeders which say that they are squirrel-proof but I have heard otherwise. I have observed squirrels almost as much as I have observed birds. They are very sneaky and cunning creatures. They will even go to those squirrel-proof feeders, and stay off of them while they spill the seeds onto the ground! Every time that you think that you have fooled them they will watch the birds until they figure out a way to get around something themselves. The only squirrel-proof feeders which seem to work are the feeders that come with baffles attached to them.

You are able to purchase these baffles at bird supply stores, maybe some pet stores, and garden stores (such as WalMart, Lowes).

The baffle usually gets rid of squirrels and raccoons but there are others who eat bird seed. There is the chipmunk, and bird ‘pests’ (such as crows, jays, and even hawks).

Another method for most creatures - including squirrels - is Cayenne pepper, maybe mixed with black pepper. That will take care of the creatures but there are still the larger birds.

Approximate prices of feeder poles

Feeder Poles
Average Prices
Lowest avge. price
Around $11.00
Highest avge. price
Around $138.00
This was between a low priced department store and a high priced bird store.

Approximate prices of squirrel baffles

Baffles
Types
Average Price
Lowest avge. price
Flange mount on pole
Around $10.00
Highest avge. price
Feeder w/tube baffle & pole
Around $64.00
This was between a low priced department store and a high priced bird store.

Do you have a similar problem?

See results

Peanut in shell

Peanuts inside shell which birds and squirrels gladly crack and eat.
Peanuts inside shell which birds and squirrels gladly crack and eat. | Source
Tube feeder to avoid squirrels.
Tube feeder to avoid squirrels. | Source
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria psaltria, male, with a pair of House Finches sharing the thistle feeder. San Marcos, Texas, USA.
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria psaltria, male, with a pair of House Finches sharing the thistle feeder. San Marcos, Texas, USA. | Source

This is ‘for the birds’:

Find a spot in your yard which is away from the feeders but not where bird (pests) will not find or stay away from. Then sprinkle a few seeds on the ground – not too many yet - and see if the birds who you are chasing from the feeders go there. After they have found the seeds then you can place some more. You can probably use cheaper seeds for these birds. If they do not find the seeds at first what can you do is gradually sprinkle a few seeds at a time along a trail to lead them to the new site.

There are birds which are pests too:

You may have been watching blackbirds, jays and others just like the rest of the birds but they have now become annoying when they spill the seeds all over the ground right after you filled the feeders. Since the birds do not notice the pepper you have to come up with another way of taking care of them. After all, you do not want to harm them. So what can you do?


  1. Place a special container of different seeds/food for them away from the other feeders –squirrels and Blue Jays will eat peanuts (in shell or out) placed in a bowl away from the bird feeders;
  2. Use smaller feeders for the smaller birds so that the larger birds cannot get into them – such as tube feeders, sock feeders, etc.;

You can buy one large bag of unsalted peanuts in their shells in the supermarket for less than several cans of salted peanuts costs. I have used the ones in their shells and the squirrels & birds are very happy to eat them. The birds – and the squirrels – happily spend time (someplace else) cracking the shells to eat the nuts.


Author: Kevin - ©2013


© 2013 The Examiner-1

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    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Crows are very sneaky birds Peachy. They usually eat on the ground but they also eat from the feeders when there are no seeds on the ground, or for other reasons. When they are there then the others are not. If you put seeds on the ground or even somewhere else away from the bird feeder(s), then you may solve your problem.

      Have a nice day. :-)

      Kevin

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      once, i tried to put up a recycle bird seed station, guess who came to have lunch? The black crows!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I am sure that I have seen you before. :-D That sure is a lot of birds, and I see that you have a name for your squirrel too. You can place a separate feeder for the squirrels to keep them away the bird feeder - they love PB & other nuts. I made my own homemade baffle at one time. It was easy.

      I am glad that you liked this Hub so much. Thank you very much for sharing it.

      You take care and enjoy your day too!

      Kevin

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      This is very interesting as I am also a bird feeder; we have daily visits from Tits,Sparrows,Wren,Robin,Bullfinch,Nuthatch,Crows,Blackbirds, Magpies,Woodpecker and many more. We also at times have a visit from Sammy the Squirrel. This hub I vote up, across and share. Take care and enjoy your day .

      Eddy.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I know. That is one of the reasons why it is one of my two favorite birds!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      And chickadees are so cute, too!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      We have black bears, but they're shy. I think our cats would scare them off pretty easily. A surveillance camera sounds like a good idea.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      If you are in an area where they are around, even bears may attack your feeders! (I do not think that Tennessee is though.) We may never know who gets the seeds, unless you can put a surveillance camera pointed at them. :-D

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      Very interesting Hub. I'm a sucker; I don't care what animal gets the feed, as long as someone enjoys it. Thinking I may need to reconsider that, though.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I love to bird watch also. I like to watch them, listen to them and learn what makes them tick.

      It sounds as if you had a pretty decent group of birds to watch.

      The weather this year has been weird. Maybe the goldfinches went somewhere warm when we had a cold spell in the fall. :-D I do not know about you, but I think that at one point it was down to 30 in mid-fall here.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      I love to bird watch. We have the thistle feeders out back near a double suet hanger. We get gold finch and soft downy woodpeckers that come to that tree. In the side yard, I had a double hanging pole feeder with a baffle loaded with several feeders and a tray for open feeding. We used to have so many birds here.

      This past year, I put out two thistle feeders and we never saw one gold finch. I don't know what happened to them.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I know that we all have to eat but I think that we should make a special place for the squirrels to eat so that the birds have their food.

      No, I did not know that is where it came from.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      As the old saying goe, we all gotta eat. One must be especially creative around the squirrels. That's where the Saying, "squirrely" came from, you know.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Hi Dolores, perhaps you did not have the correct type of baffle or maybe it was not in the proper place. Such as higher or lower on the pole or directly on the feeder - or perhaps the opposite of what I just said.

      I have seen those squirrels outsmart those spring feeders by not putting their weight on them and spilling the seeds, or other methods.

      You cannot use those feeders for all seeds so another option is the Cayenne pepper. It does not disturb the birds.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Kevin, we had a real problem with squirrels and tried a baffle but they managed to beat the baffle. I won't go into the ridiculous ways I tried to thwart the little stinkers, but what worked in the end was a spring loaded feeder. Their own weight pulls down the springs and closes the opening so they can't get to the seeds.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      You are welcome tirelesstraveler. I know how annoying it can get.

      Kevin

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Squirrels are so amazingly clever. Thanks for giving us tips on how to foil their feasts in our bird feeders.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I enjoy watching both of them too and I can even tell squirrel sounds from bird sounds. :-)

      It was annoying when it first happened to me also. I did not know that squirrels ate bird seeds and I was spending a lot of money on the seeds!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the interesting and useful information. I like both birds and squirrels, but it is annoying when the squirrels take food intended for birds!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Thank you Beth37, I hope so too. I may have to add to it.

    • profile image

      Beth37 3 years ago

      Excellent job... Ive heard many ppl complain about this issue. I hope its helpful for them. :)

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I am glad for you that they have gone but they might return with an army. You could also get the other pests. I do wish you good luck though.

      Thank you for reading this.

    • lindajot profile image

      lindajot 3 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      For time we had a problem with ground squirrels by the dozens living in wood stock piles . . . they are gone this year. Not sure if the cats ran them off or not - we did find one deceased in the garage. I found that sad, but am glad they are gone.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image
      Author

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      That is so true. That is why the only one which I have not seen them get past (so far) is the baffle because they slide right off of it! There is no place, or way, for them to get a grip on it.

      Thank you for stopping by. :-)

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

      Beth Eaglescliffe 3 years ago from UK

      You comment about squirrels getting more daring is so true. They are incredible acrobats. Given enough time, they seem to have the intelligence and agility to get past most feeding table defences.