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How to Protect Your Bird Feeders

How to Protect Your Bird Feeders

Squirrels have become a plague on bird feeders. It can certainly be daunting to squirrel-proof your bird feeders. These smart little critters can undo your toughest squirrel proof measures in just minutes!

So, try some tested, effective squirrel-proof and squirrel control products. Havahart® has great tips for squirrel control solutions from squirrel repellents to squirrel traps and other methods to squirrel proof your bird feeders.

Squirrel Repellents

A squirrel repellent is an efficient way to squirrel proof the areas surrounding your bird feeder. We offer several squirrel repellent solutions:

Critter Ridder® is a pepper based, OMRI Listed®, deterrent available in both liquid and granular applications.  Critter Ridder® can be used indoors (granular) and outdoors (granular and liquid).

One application of Critter Ridder® works as a squirrel repellent up to 30 days, helping you to squirrel proof the areas around your feeders and areas around your yard.

Deer Off® is a patented dual deterrent that repels by smell and taste.

For a long-term squirrel repellent or squirrel proof solution, a motion-activated repellent may be the best alternative. Convenient, easy-to-use and harmless to animals and pets, this electronic repellent releases a startling burst of water that will help scare squirrels away from your bird feeders.

Squirrel Traps

Trapping is another humane and effective alternative method of squirrel control. Havahart® squirrel traps come in a variety of sizes and are safe for transporting animals. Before setting squirrel traps, check your state and game regulations regarding squirrel traps and squirrel control.

Tips to Squirrel-Proof Your Feeders

Location, Location, Location!

Find a spot for your bird feeder with a good view from the house but far enough away (at least 20 feet) from it. If you have a pole mounted feeder and want to make it squirrel proof, position it at least 10 feet away from potential perches (trees, garage, etc.). Squirrels can jump 4 feet vertically so to really squirrel proof your feeder, make sure it is at least 5-6 feet off the ground, if pole mounted.

While attempting to squirrel proof your feeders, keep in mind that some birds are more nervous than others. So while you should keep the feeder away from any launch points, birds appreciate cover within 12-20 feet of the feeder. Remember also that ground cover is a hiding place for predators so keep feeders away from it, too.

Change The Seed

While squirrels will eat almost anything, there are some kinds of bird seed a squirrel will not go through hoops to get, so this can help to "squirrel proof" your feeder indirectly. Squirrels don't like:

  • Beef Suet
  • Safflower Seed
  • Nyger or thistle seed

While the above seed doesn't appeal to squirrels, it also doesn't appeal to a large majority of birds so the variety of birds at your feeder will decrease as well. Unfortunately, that is one of the problems in trying to squirrel proof your feeder. Fortunately, safflower seeds do appeal to cardinals, doves, titmice, nuthatches, and house finches.

Tips for Pole-Mounted Feeders

Baffle Them

Baffles have proven to be a good defense against squirrels infiltrating the bird feeder when installed properly. Keep in mind that squirrels don't always approach the feeder from the bottom or top; you may need a baffle at both ends for effective squirrel proof measures.

Spin Them Off

Fitting sections of plastic or PVC pipe over the metal post makes it difficult for squirrels to grab on to climb up to the feeder. Make sure the plastic or PVC is as smooth as possible; any edges or rough spots will be just enough for a squirrel to grab on, and your squirrel proof feeder may no longer be squirrel proof.

Red is the Answer

Some studies suggest squirrels don't like the color red since the red-headed woodpecker is the natural enemy of the squirrel, competing for similar grounds. By adding red to your backyard color scheme you may be able to render your bird feeders squirrel proof while sprucing up your yard.


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