Foolproof Tips On How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Birdfeeders

A Squirrel Eating Out Of A Birdfeeder
(Image credit: Larbear)

For a bird lover, one of the most frustrating things that you can experience is to see the bushy tail of a greedy squirrel hanging off the side of your birdfeeders. Squirrels will devour an entire feeder full of food in almost no time at all and will messily waste half that food by tossing it on the ground. So what is a bird lover to do? Read on to find out.

Tips on Keeping Squirrels Out of Birdfeeders

Many bird lovers ask, "How do I keep squirrels out of my birdfeeders?" Here are a few tips you can use to keep squirrels from your birdfeeders.

  1. Use a squirrel proof feeder - This is probably the most effective way to keep a squirrel out of your feeders. Many of the best squirrel proof feeders are weight-sensitive, so that if a squirrel tries to sit on them, the feeder closes and the squirrel cannot get at the food. Other squirrel proof birdfeeder designs include feeders that are surrounded by a metal cage. These allow smaller animals, like birds to get through, but not larger ones. The metal cages are not quite as effective as the weight sensitive due to the fact that squirrels can and will wiggle their way into anything.
  2. Use a squirrel collar - Putting a cone-like collar on the post that the birdfeeder sits on or on the chain that the birdfeeder hangs from can help to deter squirrels from your bird food. But squirrels can find a way around this if they have a location nearby where they can jump from onto the birdfeeder.
  3. Feed the squirrels - This may seem counterproductive, but providing the squirrels with their own feeder can help to keep them out of the birdfeeder. As they have an easy food source, they will not be as likely to look at other ones (like your birdfeeder). An added bonus is that squirrels can be very funny to watch. Many squirrel feeders are designed to make the most of a squirrel's natural antics.
  4. Use a slippery post - If your bird feeders are sitting on wood posts, consider changing them to a metal or PVC pole. These materials make it hard for the squirrel to climb and, therefore, the squirrel will have a more difficult time getting to the food. For added protection, grease the pole with vegetable oil to make it extra slippery.
  5. Use food squirrels don't like - Squirrels will eat most kinds of bird seed, but there are a few they don't like. Try using safflower seed. Many desirable birds like it while squirrels and many undesirable birds do not. Or mix in some cayenne pepper into the food. The capsicum, the stuff that makes it hot, does not affect birds but will affect squirrels.

Following these few tips should help you keep the squirrels out of your feeder, which means that the bird you love will be eating the food.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.