Had enough of squirrels? Try squirrel-proof bird feeders

If you have squirrel problems, a squirrel-proof bird feeder may be your best solution. Squirrel-proof bird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles that will solve almost any problem you may encounter with these amusing but infuriating critters. Note: this is an American article, reproduced with permission, so the species information isn’t directly relevant – but the advice is.

By Larry Jordan

There are several species of ground squirrels and tree squirrels that can create problems for bird enthusiasts. If you have squirrel problems, a squirrel-proof bird feeder may be your best solution. For us here in North America the Fox Squirrel and the Eastern and Western Gray Squirrels are species of tree squirrels that are most commonly involved with causing problems for home owners and bird watchers.

Squirrel-proof bird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. They range from the weight-activated hopper feeders like the Homestead Super Stop-A-Squirrel to the simple baffle-topped feeders. For the serious backyard birder there is the Droll Yankees’ Yankee Flipper that (harmlessly) propels the squirrels off of the feeder with a battery-operated device activated by the squirrel’s weight.

One of the major problems bird watchers have with squirrels is that the squirrels take over the feeders and scare the birds away. But that’s not the only problem. Depending on the season and what’s available locally, the squirrel’s diet is made up mostly of nuts, fruits, plant buds, seeds and flowers. However, squirrels are not vegetarian. They also eat bird eggs and nestlings that they will snatch right out of a birdhouse. They may pounce on unsuspecting birds at feeders also.

There are two clear strategies for solving the problem of keeping squirrels away from your feeders and birdhouses. You can prevent them from gaining access to your treasures, or you can give them a better, alternate place to dine.

Let’s tackle the preventative strategy first. There are some very simple ways to keep your birdhouses and feeders safe from squirrel damage. And let me add here that it is imperative to keep your birdhouses safe from possible predation. You can build your own predator guard from my plans or you can purchase squirrel baffles, which come in a variety of styles, sizes, shapes and colours.

What you want to do is to keep squirrels away from your feeders and birdhouses right from the start. Squirrels are very persistent and once they find an easy source of food, they will try to overcome any obstacle you may put in their way.

Squirrels are extremely agile and can leap eight feet or more and climb almost anything. For this reason alone, if you have squirrel problems in your garden, keep your bird feeders and birdhouses at least eight feet away from any tree limbs or man-made structures and install baffles on the supporting posts.

If you must hang your bird feeders in trees, you will want to keep them away from the main trunk and equip them with a dome baffle or simply use a squirrel-proof bird feeder that is designed with a dome-type top.

Another popular style of squirrel-proof bird feeders is the caged feeder. The caged feeders have a wire cage around the feed itself that prevents squirrels from getting to the seed. They simply put the food out of reach for the hungry squirrel.

Any of these squirrel-proof bird feeders or baffle feeder combinations should thwart even the most persistent squirrels. So let’s consider the second strategy of giving the squirrels a better alternative than your bird feeders or birdhouses for their banquets.

This strategy involves setting up a squirrel feeding station somewhere away from your bird feeders with the foodstuffs that squirrels really like. There are several different squirrel feeders that not only let the squirrels enjoy the nuts, sunflower seeds and fruit they like the most, there are some that let you watch their antics as they feed on one of their favorite foods, corn on the cob.

So whether you love squirrels or hate ’em, these are some solutions to the squirrel dilemma that many birders face. You may even have some new thoughts on how you can live with squirrels and keep your bird feeders and birdhouses off limits to these cute, furry critters.

Larry Jordan has been bird watching for many years and building birdhouses for over 26 years. We’re a UK site, so if you’re in the United States and are looking for quality bird and birding products, please visit his online store at Birds In My Yard for some great deals and great service. For more information on bird watching, bird houses, feeding wild birds, birds in the news, bird conservation, and some great bird photos go to The Birder’s Report and sign up for his newsletter or his RSS Feed.

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