Effective Tips for Keeping Squirrels Out of Your Birdfeeder
Squirrels are always a fun treat when they scamper around the yard, which makes it easy to forget that they can be destructive critters when they spend a lot of time around your house. When you have bird feeders out, you can make matters worse since they consider these to be easy pickings for tasty seeds and nuts. With a few changes around the yard, you can help protect your bird feeder, and limit the amount of damage your local squirrels can do.
You can try to replace your existing feeders with one designed to keep out squirrels. There are many different clever ideas on the market, but the most common one uses the weight of the squirrel against it. The usual design has a sliding sleeve around the feeder that moves down with the weight of the squirrel, blocking all access to the feed inside. Most birds aren’t heavy enough to make it slide, so they can eat without problem.
Another kind of squirrel-proof bird feeder has heavy wire cage around it. Most smaller birds would fit between the wires but the larger squirrel cannot. At least that is the theory. These aren’t always as successful because a clever or particularly slim squirrel can still manage to get into the cage, and this can also deter any larger birds you might otherwise want at your feeders.
Install a Moat
Well, you don’t have to get too medieval with this idea but a water barrier can be an option. If your bird feeder is mounted on the usual pole, a pool of water around the base can keep squirrels from getting at it. A determined squirrel can swim though so this is the better approach to use if you are installing a new feeder that hasn’t already attracted a lot of pest attention.
Don’t forget though, a squirrel can leap a long way from any nearby building or low-hanging branch to foil your moat.
Turn up the Heat
If you still can’t get the squirrels out of your feeders, you can make the menu a little less appealing. An odd trick is to put a dose of cayenne pepper in with your seeds. Birds do not taste the heat of the pepper, but any intruding mammals will be immediately turned off by the spice. You’ll have to experiment a bit to see how much pepper you need. Start with a tablespoon of pepper mixed through a 5 pound bag of feed, and then increase it from there if the squirrels keep coming. Since the birds don’t taste it, they aren’t going to be bothered if you add too much.