One of the biggest concerns of most bird lovers is how to keep squirrels out of their feeders. We all know that these pesky creatures are capable of destroying a small seed supply in just a few minutes with their sharp teeth and long claws. It can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many different ways you can deter them from coming into your yard or garden without spending too much money on things like electric fences or ultrasonic devices. This article can be a great reference when trying to find ways to keep your bird feeder squirrel-free.
Scare It Away
A very effective method for keeping squirrels away is scaring them. There are many different types of scare tactics, such as motion-activated sprinklers and strobe lights, but one of the best methods is to use a fake owl. Squirrels are very wary animals that efficiently run away from an unknown predator. They also tend to be territorial, so they may not return if something scares them away. Placing a fake owl or another predator figure near your bird feeder will scare away squirrels trying to climb onto it. However, just make sure whatever scare tactic you use doesn’t scare away the birds you are trying to attract.
Use Feed That Squirrels Don’t Like
Another great way to deter squirrels from reaching your feeder is to fill it with foods they don’t like. Most squirrels are omnivores, eating everything, including seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. However, there are some things such as Safflower seeds and Nyjer seeds that squirrels will generally stay away from. These seeds have a tough shell, but they are soft and easily digestible for small birds. An excellent product for these seeds is the thistle feeder made by Nature’s Hangout. These types of feeders were explicitly designed to hold safflower seeds instead of more traditional bird food such as sunflower seeds, which tend to be a squirrel’s favorite.
Build A Weight System
If you have multiple bird feeders in your yard, you can add a weight system that will cause the feeder to close the lid if it is lifted from underneath automatically. This prevents larger animals such as raccoons and opossums from reaching up and flipping the top to access the food inside. However, a weight system will keep out large animals and prevent squirrels from climbing up and reaching into the feeder. They are too heavy and will trigger an automatic close when they try to climb onto it.
Use Hot Peppers
Another great deterrent is hot peppers. Birds can eat them without any problems, but squirrels will stay away from anything spicy like most other mammals. One way to use peppers on your bird feeder is to take some chili pepper and coat your feeder pole with it. The capsaicin in the chili pepper causes a burning sensation in their paws, which makes them feel like it is on fire. This makes them run away very quickly, and they will not want to go near that area of the yard again. You can also add some to the feed itself. Once the squirrels try it, their mouth starts to burn, and they will avoid eating your bird food again.
Some squirrels are relentless in getting food, so there may be no way you can stop them entirely unless you make significant changes to your backyard; however, you can change the way they go about getting it. Baffling is a method of using wire mesh to block off places where squirrels are trying to climb. If you place baffles around the trunk or pole that your bird feeder is hanging from, then there will be no way for them to get up and reach the food inside. It is a relatively cheap and effective way to prevent squirrels from getting into your feeders.
Give Them Their Food
They may be annoying, and they may steal most of the food from your bird feeders, but it is essential to remember that squirrels are also an integral part of nature. They help with seed dispersal and can live ten years or longer if there is enough food. If you have a large backyard and want to carve out a separate area for just squirrels, you can put up a variety of specific food. This could be an assortment of nuts and seeds that they love even more than the ones in your bird feeder. It will make them feel less inclined to mess with your bird feeder because they will have their buffet.
There are various ways to keep squirrels from eating all the food in your bird feeders. The methods above will work well if you have a small number of feeders and only need them to withstand minor damage. However, for those who have many feeders and need something more practical, there are other more expensive options out there. Just remember, the last thing you want to do is hurt or kill the squirrels. Although they can be annoying sometimes, that doesn’t mean they deserve to be harmed. They are just after a meal like most things in this world!