Bird feeders can become a community kitchen in your backyard. Squirrels are the one customer that it's almost impossible to convince to leave.
They're skittish prey animals who never know when they'll eat again. They're also smart enough to get past any methods you may have tried to keep them away.
Read on to learn how to keep squirrels off bird feeders.
Choose the Right Feeder
There is no such thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder, but there are certain types of bird feeders that discourage them from coming in.
Look for one with a weight-activated perch. Stepping on it will block off access to the seed or send the squirrels spinning. They'll get the hint and look elsewhere for food.
Watch Where You Put the Feeder
Squirrels achieve feats fit for superhero comics every day. They can leap up to 5 feet in a single bound and soar 10 feet or more between branches. They can also climb up a tree at 12 miles per hour.
That doesn't mean they'll jump from or climb up anything. They're shy about approaching feeders in open areas where predators can see them.
Put yours in the middle of the yard. Keep it out of jumping distance from any:
Squirrels also struggle to climb smooth surfaces. Use poles made of PVC or copper that are large enough to keep them from wrapping their arms around it. Use metal cable or extra-strength fishing line for hanging bird feeders.
Use Squirrel Baffles
Squirrel baffles can range from crazy slinkies to simple domes.
Ward off persistent squirrels by placing one above and below your feeder. They won't be able to climb up from the bottom or jump onto it from above.
Change Your Seed
Figuring out how to keep squirrels off bird feeders doesn't only have to do with what's outside. Changing the seed you put in it can also have a major impact.
Birds can't taste capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot. They're so immune to it that they're largely responsible for spreading wild pepper seeds.
Mammals, like squirrels, can taste capsaicin. They'll avoid feeling the heat of hot pepper birdseed.
Keep it Clean
Squirrels are scavengers and will stuff themselves if they can. Don't overfill your feeder; they'll see your house as a paradise with food falling from the sky.
Clean up debris on the ground to discourage squirrels and other pests. Attach a tray to the pole beneath the feeder to catch whatever falls.
These steps will also improve the health of your birds. They'll get sick and spread disease if they eat old, moldy seeds.
Attract More Birds and Keep Squirrels Away
Figuring out how to keep squirrels off bird feeders is essential to attract birds to your yard. Otherwise, they'll run off with all the seed before any other animals get it.
Place your feeder in the middle of the yard. Find one with a weighted perch and use squirrel baffles to block access.
Getting the right seed is one of the most critical parts. It should be hot enough to bother the squirrels but not your birds. To attract more birds, offer seed that appeals to the birds currently in your area.
Try a HappySeed Box with Hot Pepper Blend from Happy Birdwatcher to keep the squirrels away! Unlike generic birdseed found in stores, our HappySeed Boxes are personalized and customized for the birds found in your zip code.
Our mission is to help you attract more birds, and feel happier.