Birds love the grains you serve at your feeders…
But so do pesky the squirrels in your yard. And you can’t blame a buddy trying to survive. It’s just nature.
However, squirrels can quickly become a nuisance in their quest for survival. At a point, you’d probably reconsider attracting birds to your yard out of frustration.
A scurry of squirrels can run a week’s worth of bird seed in just a day. In the process, feeding your adorable birdies would cost way too much that you budgeted.
As if that’s not enough, these critters could wreck the bird feeder altogether. And worse, scare off the charming birds you tried so hard to attract to your yard.
So it’s normal to consider quitting. On the bright side, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a glimmer of hope left.
You can keep the critters at your feeding station to the barest minimum. And maybe even restrict them feeding on the ground if you follow all the tips listed below.
#1 Squirrel-Proof Feeders All Day
If your feeder is already a victim of the claws of squirrels, consider replacing it with a squirrel-proof bird feeder so you can easily keep squirrels away.
This type of feeder would be made of metal or chew-proof plastic.
But that’s not the catch. Squirrel-proof feeders shut out critters from the feeder using a trigger mechanism that allows only lighter birds to eat.
Ideally, the feeder would have a mechanism that closes once a squirrel or large bird lands on its perch. Not only would this slow down their population, but you’d also enjoy watching their antics as they struggle at the feeder.
Plus, there are other types of squirrel-proof feeders that make squirrels struggle to take a bite. An example is a battery-powered flipper feeder that spins under the weight of a squirrel.
A cage design bird feeder may help you with a total lockout. The cage would have small holes that would be almost impossible for squirrels and bully birds to squeeze through.
#2 Squirrel-Proof Poles Too
It’s possible to keep squirrels limited to feeding on the ground if you set up your station with a squirrel-proof pole.
And it goes two ways:
DIY Squirrel-proof Pole
This is a simple fix. Just use a copper or PVC pole instead of metal or wood during installation.
These poles pose a challenge for critters to climb. However, squirrels are equally tricky and, with persistence, may eventually breach the pole.
So, I’ll advise you to also put a baffle (inversely) at the bottom of the feeder. This forces the squirrel into a dark chamber where it gets confused.
But be sure to install the baffle at least 5 feet high on the pole. Else, squirrels would jump over.
Buying A Squirrel-Proof Pole
Secondly, you can invest in a squirrel-proof pole. This type of pole usually has a spring-loaded baffle that’s triggered by the weight of a squirrel. As well as staying grounded, the squirrels put up a show as they bounce off the pole.
As long as you get the next tip right, this strategy would limit squirrels to feeding on the ground.
#3 The Perfect Feeder Position
It’s all fun to see squirrels acrobatically leaping unto a feeder from unimaginable positions. But only when they are no more than 2 or 3. Anymore, then they become a nuisance.
But not if you place the feeder out of their reach. And that means a cool 10 feet away from trees, houses, or any potential leaping platform.
Coupled with the installation of a squirrel-proof feeder and pole, you’ll easily fend off those pesky rodents.
The only thing is, only a few bird watchers would have enough space in their yard to make this happen.
#4 Switching Up Diet
The main attraction is obviously not the bird feeder itself but its content.
Luckily, you can make squirrels turn a blind eye to your feeder while the birds enjoy their treats.
The best seeds to execute this move are safflower seeds and nyjer seeds. And there’s also the tiny white proso millet seeds.
With this method, you will lose some birds in the process, but a few charming birds such as cardinals, goldfinches, and titmice would come around.
But if you feel you run the risk of losing your favorite birdie, there’s an alternative.
And it’s a hot and chili one.
#5 Spice Up Favorite Meals
Yes, spice up your bird seeds with hot chili or cayenne pepper to deter the squirrels.
Don’t panic yet.
I know what you’re thinking:
I’m an extremist who doesn’t give a hoot and wants to burn off the throats of the birds.
But that’s not the case.
Birds, unlike humans and squirrels, can’t feel the heat or burning sensation of capsaicin – the compound that makes pepper hot and spicy.
Consequently, squirrels would run off once they smell or taste pepper, and your birds would feast ignorantly. So while it’s safe for the birds, be careful not to get pepper flakes in your eyes.
Besides, if you don’t want to prepare the meal yourself, there are lots of capsaicin-coated bird seeds and hot pepper suet cake available online and in stores.
#6 No Need For A Battle
Squirrels indeed can be annoying and frustrating. So I won’t judge if you want to poison or hunt every last one in your yard down and prevent them from somehow destroying your precious place for the birds to come.
But relax now.
Aside from the perspective of a nature lover, killing squirrels would only work for a while as long as you’re still feeding birds. Squirrels breed quickly, so they’ll be back any minute.
Besides, if you feel setting glue traps or greasing the bird poles is more humane, you might want to have a rethink. Squirrels find it hard to get grease off their coat, and escaping a glue trap would be excruciatingly painful.
Not to mention that some might get sick if they mistakenly ingest petroleum jelly or grease, like WD-40.
At the end of the day, these undeniably pesky critters only want to survive just as your adorable birds want to.
And with these tips, you can humanely keep squirrels on your feeder at the barest minimum. Or even restrict them to feed off only scraps on the ground alone.
Also, you can install a squirrel feeder separately to reduce squirrels at your bird station and enjoy their antics. A corn cob feeder is an excellent choice if you are feeling generous.