No matter what you do, it seems as though the squirrels are always dumping your bird feeders. You can stop some of that – and sometimes all of it with a few tips and tricks. Knowing a little bit about squirrels helps you determine what will work for your feeders. Keep in mind that squirrels can jump up to five feet from the ground, and up to seven feet from a tree or house to your feeder. They’ll also jump down from trees or a roof up to about nine feet. Keeping your feeders these distances away from trees, houses and other items that can give the squirrels a lift goes a long way in protecting your bird feeders.
Squirrels can climb up most poles, including metal poles. Using baffles help to keep them off the feeders. You can purchase or make baffles that look like torpedoes or cones to keep the pesky critters from climbing the pole – but they won’t stop the squirrels from accessing the feeders from above.
Use a Squirrel-Proof Feeder
You can buy or make squirrel-proof feeders. Some have weight-activated doors that close when it senses the weight of the squirrel and open when the squirrel leaves. You can also purchase caged feeders – these have a steel cage around them. The birds can get through the cage, but the squirrels can’t fit through the wires openings.
Create a Baffle Out of a Slinky
Thread the pole through a slinky, then attach the slinky to the bottom of the bird feeder. When the squirrel tries to climb, he’ll just “slinky” right back down again. If you can find the old metal slinky, it will work better than plastic since the squirrels might chew through the plastic.
Choose a Good Location for the Feeder
Move your feeders away from squirrel “access points.” Your feeders should be at least 10 feet away from a house, a tree or anything else the squirrel can jump onto the feeder from. Also, if you have a ladder or another way to reach the feeder, put your feeder on a 10-foot pole. That will keep the squirrels from jumping from the ground onto the feeder. Using baffles or a slinky on the pole keeps them from climbing the pole.
Give the Squirrels Their Own Food
Put squirrel feeders out – but keep them far enough away from the bird feeders, so they aren’t tempted to hoover their food, then go over to the bird feeders. Make sure you keep the squirrel feeders full.
Grease the Pole
Squirrels don’t like to get their paws dirty, plus the grease is slippery. Rub a good amount of axle grease from the bottom of the pole to right up below the feeder. That will keep the squirrels from climbing the pole. Axle grease will stay on for several rain storms, but you will have to replace it once in a while.
Soda Bottle Deterrent
Hang the feeder on a wire strung between two poles. String soda bottles on the wire so they spin when the squirrel tries to run across them. The squirrel won’t be able to stay on the wire to get to your feeder.