As a bird enthusiast, feeding birds in your garden or backyard can be amazing and a great sight to behold. But it can also be frustrating when you have to deal with squirrels hanging around your bird feeders. Squirrels like bird food a lot, and they can go the extra mile just to lay their hands on it. Squirrels are persistent, smart, and they learn from experience.
They can jump, climb almost any surface, squeeze themselves through very tiny holes, and do whatever it takes to get what they want – including the fresh bird food you just put in your bird feeder.
Have you been looking for how to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder? Are squirrels been eating a greater portion of your bird food? Then what you need is an adequate solution that will help you keep squirrels out of bird feeders.
Keeping squirrels away from bird feeder has been one common challenge most bird lovers face. In this article, you will be provided with some useful solutions, as we have done our research and put together some tips to help you keep squirrels out of your bird feeders.
How to Keep Squirrels Away from Bird Feeders
The best kinds of bird foods, including suet, nuts, and black oil sunflower seeds, are also attractive and appealing to squirrels just the way they are to birds. Unlike birds that often share their feeder with other birds, squirrels are known for chasing and scaring birds away.
They can also stay at the feeder until the food is finished, consuming all the bird food without a bird getting a bite. They can also claw or chew their way through both plastic and wooden feeders, even go as far as damaging some of them. As a result of this, we have put the following tips together to help you keep away squirrels from your bird feeders. Here are some of the possible solutions.
Get a Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder
Based on the size of the squirrels in your backyard and the size of birds you wish to attract, you can purchase a bird feeder that’s in a very strong wire mesh cage that a squirrel cannot pass through, but a bird can.
There are also bird feeders that close down when there is a heavier weight on the perches, shutting down access to the food. This may be a great option if your target birds are less heavy than your squirrels. When purchasing a squirrel proof bird feeder, make sure you go for a model that is made of high-quality polycarbonate or metal so the squirrels won’t be able to chew through the feeder.
Choose a Strategic Location to Position Your Bird Feeder
So far, one of the most effective ways of keeping squirrels away from bird feeders is to position the feeder away from walls, trees, or any other things squirrels can jump from in order to gain access to the feeder. Make sure all the support and means through which the squirrels can get to the feeder are inaccessible as possible.
This requires a degree of ingenuity and cleverness, as an average squirrel can jump more than four feet from the ground, and eight to ten feet sideways, they can even jump more than that from above.
Based on these statistics, you will have to position the bird feeder at least four feet away from the ground. The feeder also has to be ten feet away from walls, fences, and trees in all directions. This will make it more difficult for squirrels to get access to the feeder.
Preferably, you should hand or mount the bird feeder on a metal pole that is very smooth and at least 6 feet high. You should also cut down branches within a radius of twelve feet.
Place Baffles around the Feeder
Add smooth metal or plastic baffles around your feeder. Baffles are slippery plastic or metal shields that are shaped like bowls. If the feeder is on a post, you can install the baffle below the feeder, but if it’s hanging from a chain or wire, you can install the baffle above the feeder, make sure the baffle has a length or width of at least fifteen to eighteen inches.
The baffle, due to the way it is designed, will prevent squirrels from reaching the bird feeder. A lot of squirrel baffles are designed in such a way that if a squirrel jumps or climbs on them, they will tilt or twirl, making the squirrel to be unbalanced and unable to get to the feeder.
Use Bird Foods that Squirrels Do Not Like
While squirrels eat almost every kind of bird food, there are a couple of bird seeds that they don’t like. You should try using safflower seed or Nyjer, as squirrels are less attracted to them. These two bird foods have a bitter taste and squirrels don’t like them while almost all birds (especially desirable birds) love them.
By exclusively using these bird seeds, you are shutting down a source of food for squirrels without affecting the feeding of the birds. There are also other bird seeds that birds like and squirrels don’t. This is another option of keeping squirrels away from bird feeders.
Add Some Spice to the Bird Food
Adding some spice or pepper (powdered) into your bird feed can help scare squirrels away. This is because birds don’t have capsaicin receptors, so they cannot smell or taste it. On the other hand, squirrels can smell and taste pepper, and they hate it.
Also, hot pepper contains a lot of vitamins, and it may kill internal parasites in birds. For ten pounds of bird food, use about a quarter cup of pepper. But you have to be very careful when doing this, we recommend you put on gloves and try not to breath in the dust.
Adhering to these tips provided should help you keep squirrels away from your bird feeder. This means your pretty, lovely birds will be eating the bird food you are providing them with, without any disturbance from squirrels.