How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

Approximately 52 million people nationwide enjoy feeding birds and other wildlife in their backyards. With so many birdfeeders, it’s no wonder that squirrels have decided to take part in the banquet as well.

Not only do squirrels enjoy dining at your bird feeder, but they can also teach other squirrels how to raid it, too! According to a study from the University of Exeter published on Science Daily, gray squirrels observe and learn from other squirrels. That’s why when one squirrel breaches the defenses around your feeder, others soon join in the fun.

With all of their clever tricks, it can seem impossible to keep squirrels out of bird feeders. However, you can do a few things to make it more difficult for squirrels to raid your feeder and force them to seek easier pickings elsewhere.

Five Tips to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

squirrel on bird feeder

  • Hang feeders away from trees: Squirrels can jump long distances and climb with great agility. To keep squirrels away from your feeder, string a line between two trees as high as you can and place the feeder on the string away from the trees. Squirrels have difficulty walking along a bouncing string and will have a tough time leaping to the feeder.
  • Use a squirrel baffle: A squirrel baffle is a plastic dome that attaches under a feeder. It forms a curved barrier that squirrels have trouble climbing over to reach the seed.
  • Spice it up: Pepper is a natural squirrel deterrent. Apply a pepper-based repellent product, such as Critter Ridder® spray, directly to your feeders to keep them away from your offerings. Squirrels hate the taste and smell, but birds don’t notice it.
  • Cover poles: Adding layers of plastic tubing around poles may sometimes deter squirrels. Greasing poles with petroleum jelly can also make it hard for squirrels to grasp onto poles and prevent them from climbing.
  • Feed them: If you can’t beat them, join them. Try feeding squirrels away from your bird feeder with a mix of cracked corn. With delicious food available elsewhere, they’re less likely to stake a claim on your bird feeder.

Squirrels Are Cute but Destructive

squirrels at bird feeder

Squirrels can be as destructive as they are cute. By keeping squirrels away from your bird feeder, you’ll keep them from destroying it and scaring away all the birds. Many bird lovers find their feeders ripped apart or chewed to pieces thanks to squirrels.

If you’re feeding the birds and accidently attracting squirrels near your home, you run the risk of giving them the opportunity to find an opening and take up residence inside the house. Squirrels can enter through chimneys, attic fans and any other opening they can find.

Watching squirrels scamper over the lawn plucking acorns from among fall leaves is entertaining, but listening to the scritch-scratch of their claws in the attic is a warning sign. Squirrels inside your home can be destructive. They’ll chew through windowsills and doorframes seeking an escape and wreak havoc with any open food in your kitchen or pantry.

One way to humanely deal with squirrels inside your home is to use Havahart traps. These humane traps capture squirrels painlessly so that you can release them elsewhere. Learn more about Havahart’s squirrel traps and other humane ways to deal with these fury pests.