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How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Bird Feeders.


Squirrel in bird feeder

Birdwatching brings immense joy and tranquility to nature enthusiasts, but the presence of squirrels raiding bird feeders can quickly turn this pleasurable experience into a frustrating one. Squirrels are intelligent and resourceful creatures, always on the hunt for food, making them challenging to deter from bird feeders. When these crafty critters discover a steady source of food at bird feeders, they are likely to return regularly, causing disturbances and potential harm to the delicate ecosystem of your backyard.

I’ve had a few incidents where I’ve had to fend off squirrels from my bird feeder. It’s frustrating because they keep raiding it and scaring the birds away. But I’ve found a solution that works pretty well. I installed a specialized bird feeder that’s designed to keep squirrels away. It’s a weighted feeder that closes when a squirrel lands on it, so it can’t get to the bird seed.

In the article below, we will explore practical and humane methods to keep both squirrels away from bird feeders. By understanding the behavior of these animals and implementing strategic solutions, you can create a feeding space for your bird friends while deterring unwanted intruders. From selecting suitable bird feeders to using natural and non-toxic repellents, we will cover a range of tactics to protect your bird feeders and make birdwatching a delightful experience.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior:

Understanding squirrel behavior is crucial in deterring these crafty creatures from accessing bird feeders. Squirrels have exceptional climbing ability. These nimble creatures can effortlessly scale trees, fences, and even buildings to reach bird feeders placed at seemingly inaccessible heights.

Not only are squirrels skilled climbers, but they are also adept jumpers. They can leap considerable distances from one branch to another or from a nearby structure to the bird feeder.

Persistence is another defining trait of squirrels. They will not easily give up once they identify a potential food source, such as a bird feeder. They will repeatedly attempt different strategies to access the feeder, even if they initially encounter obstacles. 

Choosing the Right Bird Feeder:

The first step in deterring both squirrels is selecting bird feeders specifically designed to resist these creatures. Weight-sensitive perch mechanisms are ideal for squirrel-proof feeders, ensuring that the feeder closes off access when heavier animals like squirrels attempt to land on the perch. Similarly, tube feeders with metal cages around them can prevent raccoons from reaching the seed ports while allowing smaller birds to access the food.

Elevating the Bird Feeder:

Elevating the bird feeder is a simple yet effective tactic to deter squirrels. Mounting the feeder on a sturdy metal pole sufficiently high off the ground makes it difficult for squirrels to reach the food. 

When considering the height for elevating the bird feeder, it is essential to strike a balance. Mounting the feeder too low may allow squirrels to leap onto it while placing it too high can make it challenging for smaller birds to access the food. A recommended height is generally at least five feet off the ground, which ensures ample distance between the crafty critters and the feeding platform.

To enhance the effectiveness of the elevated bird feeder, adding a baffle or cone just below the feeder is a brilliant concept. A baffle is a disk-shaped or cone-shaped guard that acts as an obstacle, thwarting the raccoons’ acrobatic skills and deterring squirrels from climbing the pole. When positioned at least three feet above the ground, the baffle foils the raccoons’ attempts to access the feeder from below.

The baffle should have a smooth and slippery surface, preventing squirrels from gaining a foothold and climbing past the barrier. The feeder should be mounted securely above the baffle, ensuring the crafty critters cannot jump over or bypass the deterrent. Creating this additional hurdle can discourage squirrels from ascending the pole, keeping the bird food safe and undisturbed.

Regular Cleaning and Seed Removal:

To maintain a squirrel-free environment, it’s crucial to establish a routine for checking and cleaning the feeder area. As birds visit the feeder, they often dislodge seeds, which can accumulate on the ground below. These fallen seeds become an attractive food source for squirrels, encouraging them to frequent the area and potentially thwarting the efforts to keep them away from the bird feeder.

Establishing a routine for checking and cleaning the feeder area is crucial to prevent the buildup of fallen seeds. Ideally, this routine should be carried out at least twice a week, focusing on the evening when most of the feeding activity has ceased. Removing fallen seeds can significantly reduce the likelihood of attracting squirrels and other rodents to the vicinity.

Regular cleaning also promotes the overall health and well-being of the birds that visit the feeder. Bird droppings and discarded seeds can accumulate over time, potentially leading to the spread of diseases among the bird population. Cleaning the area helps minimize the risk of disease transmission and ensures that the feeding space remains hygienic.

Using Non-Toxic Repellents:

Hot pepper-based deterrents and ammonia-soaked rags are two non-toxic options for those seeking natural deterrents. 

Hot Pepper-Based Deterrents: One of the most widely used and accessible hot pepper ingredients for repelling squirrels and other pests is cayenne pepper. This spicy pepper contains capsaicin, which causes an intense burning sensation in mammals but does not affect birds. Thus, it is safe to use in bird feeders as a powerful deterrent for squirrels while keeping the feathered visitors unharmed.

To create a hot pepper-based deterrent, you can mix cayenne pepper with the bird seeds placed in the feeder. By doing so, the bird food becomes infused with the spicy essence, which raccoons find unpleasant and will likely avoid. The mixture can then be sprinkled on and around the bird feeder to create a barrier zone that discourages squirrels from approaching.

Handling cayenne pepper with care is essential, and avoiding touching one’s face or eyes when handling it, as capsaicin can irritate. Birdwatchers can also consider wearing gloves while preparing the mixture to prevent any discomfort.

Ammonia-Soaked Rags: Ammonia is another natural repellent that can deter raccoons from approaching the bird feeder. Squirrels have a keen sense of smell, and strong scents like ammonia can discourage them from entering specific areas.

To use ammonia as a repellent, soak old rags or cloth pieces in ammonia. These ammonia-soaked rags can then be strategically placed around the bird feeder area, particularly in the path squirrels might use to access the feeder. Hanging the rags from nearby branches or attaching them to stakes creates a perimeter that raccoons will likely avoid.

Reapplying ammonia periodically is essential, as its scent may dissipate over time, reducing its repellent effect. By maintaining a steady presence of the smell, birdwatchers can ensure the efficacy of this natural deterrent.

Handling ammonia with care is crucial, as it can be harmful if ingested or if its fumes are inhaled. You should always wear gloves while working with ammonia and store the ammonia-soaked rags safely out of reach of children and pets.

Check out these related posts:

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Ginny Orenge

Hi, my name is Ginny, home and garden decor ideas is a family business specializing in inspiring you in getting in making your own craft at home. I have also loved creating my own art at home. I hope to share my tips in creating both home and garden decorations that you can be proud off.

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