Squirrels eat birdseed and can scare away the birds you want to attract. You can try various methods to keep them away. Many people hang the bird feeders by wires, raise the poles to five feet, try squirrel blockers, cages, and plastic bottles.
Overall, to make your bird feeder squirrel proof, there are many options to make your bird feeder squirrel-proof!
You’ll want to use more than one of these options at a time for the best results. Squirrels are very agile and can jump high, making it hard to stop them from stealing bird food.
How Can I Make a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?
Most squirrels can’t jump more than five feet from the ground and seven feet across from a structure. If you place your bird feeder with that in mind, you can prevent squirrels from reaching it.
However, location won’t be enough to stop all squirrels from eating your bird food! You’ll want to use these other methods as well.
Use Plastic Bottles and Wire
Squirrels can easily walk along wires unless you add plastic bottles to them. Start by suspending the bird feeder from a wire from one pole to another. Make sure that the poles are at least five feet tall.
Next, string empty plastic bottles along the wire. The squirrels won’t hold onto the bottles as they turn and will fall off when they walk across.
Don’t worry- this won’t harm the squirrels! They can safely land when falling from five feet. This method isn’t safe for feeders above nine feet tall, however.
Try a Squirrel Baffle
You can also try using a squirrel baffle. A baffle confuses and blocks the squirrel from getting to the bird feeder. They usually look like triangular umbrellas.
They work exceptionally well against squirrels that want to climb the bird feeder pole.
If you have a slinky at home, you can also use that to create a squirrel baffle!
Place the pole through the slinky, keeping it stretched out. You want it to hang from the top but not connect at the bottom without touching the ground.
Squirrels that start climbing the pole will instinctively grab onto the slinky when they reach it, lowering them to the ground.
This option works best for bird feeders in the middle of the yard, so the squirrels don’t drop onto them.
Use a Caged Bird Feeder
You could also switch to a caged bird feeder, which is much more squirrel-proof.
The cage works well since the birds can use their beaks to peck at the food, but squirrels can’t reach it through the bars.
You can also put the bird feeder inside of a cage. The birds will fit inside without the squirrels coming in.
This option is for those with smaller yards where they can’t keep the bird feeder away from objects squirrels can jump from.
But is metal bird feeders bad for hummingbirds?
Offer Other Food Sources
Giving squirrels their own food will sometimes stop them from seeking out bird food. There are plenty of squirrel feeders that you can find online.
Squirrels love dried corn and peanuts. If you leave those out for them, they’ll almost always choose them over birdseed!
Plus, keeping the squirrel food readily available helps. The squirrels will choose food that’s easier to get.
If you add a squirrel baffle to the pole, they won’t want to put in the effort when something they like more is easier to reach!
Keep the Ground Under the Feeders Clean
Birds can be messy eaters. They’ll leave behind half-eaten pieces of birdseed and shells. The debris can attract the squirrels, who might not have found your feeders otherwise.
Check on your feeder every day. You can replace the food and check that the ground doesn’t have a layer of seeds. If it is, make sure to deal with them!
Not only can the leftover seed attract squirrels, but it will also bring rats and mice to your property. To make cleaning more manageable, you can use a seed catcher tray below the bird feeder.
Use a Spinning Hook
Lastly, you can try using a spinning hook. These types of bird feeders spin when a squirrel latches onto them, causing them to fall off! It can surprise them so that they won’t try it again any time soon.
Plus, they shouldn’t spin when birds land on them to eat. The feeder detects the weight of the animal to determine what it is. They’re convenient to use too, and many different options to try.
Can I Grease a Bird Feeder Pole?
You can grease a bird feeder pole if you use oils that aren’t harmful to the squirrels! You wouldn’t want them to ingest anything toxic.
A good option is coconut oil, olive oil, or cooking spray. However, squirrels are excellent climbers and might make it through the grease.
It would be best to try using the grease with one of the above methods since it might not work independently.
Overall, you shouldn’t use anything toxic to deter the squirrels! Even if they don’t lick the pole, they’ll still ingest the oil when cleaning their fur and paws off later. It’s better to use safe greases or none at all.
Are There Smells That Drive Away Squirrels?
You can use specific scents to deter squirrels and other rodents. Squirrels hate the smell of spicy peppers and garlic powder, so sprinkling it around your property will keep them away.
You can also mix the pepper powder with water in a spray bottle and mist the ground around the bird feeder. These other spices and ingredients work to keep squirrels out:
- Peppermint oil
- Coffee grounds
- White vinegar
Irish Spring soap is a popular squirrel deterrent!
They hate the smell of these soap bars. All you need to do is grate some of it up and sprinkle it around your yard. You can also hang the soap up in socks near the bird feeder to protect it.
Finally, squirrels also dislike sweet and tangy smells. Citrus sprays are a great option because of this.