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Squirrel-Proof Your Bird Feeders

How to keep the squirrels out of your bird feeders

Squirrel-Proof Birdfeeder PhotoWatching squirrels gracefully prance around your lawn and garden can be a true delight. But squirrels can wreak havoc with your birdfeeders. They scare the birds away and waste the birdfeed in the process.

There are two methods of keeping  squirrels away from your birdfeeders:

  1. Deter them from entering the birdfeeders
  2. Divert them away from the feeders

Squirrels have a well-deserved reputation for pilfering lots of seeds from feeders. It can be quite expensive keeping them stocked with birdseed with bandit squirrels in the vicinity.

There are several ways  to deter squirrels from using your feeders:

  • Locate your birdfeeder (and birdhouse) away from tree trunks and limbs. Squirrels are able to leap quite high so be sure to place your feeders at least 12 feet away from any object that a squirrel can leap from.

  • Install a baffle above your feeder. A baffle can be homemade (such as a pie pan) or a store-bought squirrel dome (see photo above).

  • Suspend your birdfeeders between two posts or trees with heavy duty nylon string or fishing line. Attach plastic PVC pipe on either end of the nylon string to make it more difficult for a squirrel to get to the feeder.

  • A pole mounted birdfeeder should be at least 6 feet above the ground so that a squirrel can't leap up onto the feeder. Locate the top of your squirrel baffle at least 5 feet above the ground when attaching it to the mounting pole.

Alternatively, you can divert the squirrels away from your birdfeeders by creating an area that is designated just for the squirrels. It is quite inexpensive (and entertaining) to feed your squirrels. 

  • There are numerous squirrel toys available today including squirrel spinning wheels and picnic table style squirrel feeders. Inexpensive dried corn cobs work very well with these types of squirrel feeders. Be sure to place these "diversion" type feeders at least 18 feet away from your birdfeeders and birdhouses.

  • Offer the squirrels old bread or grain cereals that you have left over.

  • Place some fruit in an area where the squirrels will find it instead of your birdfeeder.

  • Squirrels love peanuts and peanut butter.

  • Install a platform style squirrel feeder stocked with sunflower seeds, cracked corn, acorns, or nuts.

Squirrels can indeed make a mess of your birdfeeders as well as waste the birdseed. But you don't have to miss out on the enjoyment of watching squirrels play in your lawn or garden. Simply use these techniques and you can enjoy watching the squirrels play side-by-side in harmony with the birds.

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