Want to Stop Squirrels Raiding Your Bird Feeder?
If you are like me, you enjoy watching birds in your garden. The flittering titts and singing blackbirds. I also love watching my birds at a feeder, how they fly back and forth and dance, almost poetically in the morning light.
What I don’t like is squirrels, the thieving little bandits take the food from the delightful garden birds and scare them away from the bird feeding station. However, there is a solution, a squirrel proof bird feeder. You can outwit these cunning grey hijackers by selecting from a wide range of squirrel proof bird tables, bird feeders and bird feeding stations all designed to deter squirrels whilst encouraging beautiful garden birds.
Keeping squirrels away from your bird feeder protects British wildlife and encourages garden birds to thrive! Here’s how you can do your part!
Squirrels are geniuses; let’s face it. They’re tiny Einsteins with the determination of Jack Bauer from 24; they simply won’t give up. There have been squirrel proof bird feeders around for decades but many of them don’t work, or, at least, don’t work for very long. Once a hungry squirrel spots your shiny new bird feeder then it’ll spend the next three weeks drawing up complex plans and practicing its acrobatics.
If you’re serious about keeping squirrels at a distance, then you need to know which squirrel resistant bird feeder is actually squirrel proof – and also which ones can be moved around to stump squirrels who have previously worked out a complicated back flip off the lower half of the garage roof…
What’s so good about a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?
Don’t get us wrong, those grey, fluffy chaps are sweet but they are also ferocious nibblers and hoarders, quickly decimating a freshly stocked bird table or feeder and scaring off the hungry garden birds.
Investing in a anti-squirrel bird feeding station makes sense for 2 reasons;
[su_note radius=”13″]Squirrel proof bird feeders aren’t more expensive than normal bird feeders and they tend to keep larger birds like pigeons and ravens out as well[/su_note]
Garden birds are finding it increasingly difficult to find enough food to feed themselves and their offspring throughout the year. With 8 million pet cats in the UK alone, as well as increased urbanisation and habitat destruction, garden birds are declining and going hungry.
Squirrels also struggle with food sources and also the increasingly uninhabitable human world they find themselves in. But still, a line must be drawn; the feed you buy for garden birds should go to garden birds. If you want to feed your squirrels without having to sacrifice the stomachs of garden birds then you can also get squirrel specific feeders and keep all the animals happy!
How to Stop Those Squirrels!
It’s a full time job being an anti-squirrel scientist. Hours are spent in development labs trying to design bird feeders that will allow garden birds to feast but squirrels to fail.
Depending on the intelligence level and dedication of the squirrels in your area, some are excellent and some are simply buying the birds time. A common type of no-squirrel feeder is the weight-adjusted bird feeder.
What are Weight Adjusted Anti Squirrel Bird Feeders?
These bird feeders allow you to set the weight that the bird feeder responds to. When something ‘too heavy’ sits on the perch to feed, the little seed doorways close, locking the seed inside, and only open up again once the weight is realised. Because the average squirrel weighs considerably more than most birds, this is easy to set up and only the fattest pigeons will trigger the mechanism as well as squirrels.
The weight is adjustable because garden birds do vary in size depending on where you live. If you want to attract or live in an area with the tiny garden birds like tits, chaffinches and sparrows, then you can set the weight quite light and the doors will close with excess weight. Because these tiny birds are so light, the perch can take many of them before they’d come close to the weight that would make the doors close.
For those who also have jackdaws and other larger birds, you can set the weight to accommodate these cheeky creatures too if you like. The Squirrel Buster Plus is a really good example of this type of feeder. (See the above video)
Squirrel Buster Plus – Key features:
- Weight adjusted seed doors close when heaviness (squirrel) is detected
- Good seed capacity
- Set weight to suit bird type
Globe Wire – “No More Squirrels” Bird Seed Dispenser
These spherical wire bird feeders encapsulate the birdseed in a feeder within an orb. The size of the holes allows small birds to easily hop in and feed while keeping out larger creatures like ravens and squirrels.
This design works well for preventing adult squirrels getting at seed although young ones may be able to fit through the gaps. Even the most determined adult squirrel will have trouble here though, as the metal and plastic construction prevents them from chewing their way in and it won’t be long before they leave it alone to seek new pastures.
Another bonus of this type of feeder is that pigeons and other large birds can’t dominate it and eat all the feed, as they tend to do with bird tables. Small garden birds are messy eaters however, and the pigeons will have enough to occupy them with fallen seed on the ground below.
The best globe wire squirrel proof bird feeder has got to be the Nuttery Squirrel Proof Globe Bird Seed Feeder. This anti-squirrel bird feeder will keep your garden birds fed throughout winter when food is scarce and provide an excellent, protected feeding station for when they’re fattening up their offspring.
Nuttery Squirrel Proof Globe Bird Seed Feeder – Key features:
– Wire globe exterior prevents squirrels and large birds from getting the seed
– Strong and durable
– 400g seed capacity
– Excellent for small garden birds
Squirrel Preventative Products for Existing Bird Feeders
To stop squirrels gaining easy access to your bird feed, you may not need a whole new bird feeder and instead there are several preventative products that you can buy.
Squirrel domes can be hung above any type of hanging bird feeder and create a surface that squirrels will struggle to grip on and climb over. These tend to look pretty while also keeping the rain and snow off birdseed and giving small garden birds a bit of shelter while they eat.
Saying that, squirrels are ingenious and a determined squirrel could probably overcome this obstacle after a bit of practise. If you are truly plagued by these smart, bushy tailed rodents then this probably isn’t the best option but if you only have the odd squirrel passing through, then this should be enough to make them give up and head for the nearest oak tree instead.
You can buy a sturdy Pack of 2 Squirrel Proof Hanging Dome Bird Feeder here and as they’re transparent, you’ll never miss the sight of small garden birds enjoying their newly sheltered food source.
Gravity Based Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeders
Hanging bird feeders are great for giving small garden birds protection against cats and foxes but squirrels are excellent climbers and will happily climb down the hanging attachment. An interesting method of deterrence is the Gardman Guaranteed Squirrel Proof Wild Bird Seed Feeder which uses the squirrel’s weight against it much like the weight adjustable door method.
The Gardman feeder has a long metal shaft that sits above the birdseed and when a squirrel climbs down it, its weight will close the metal over the seed entrance. Highly effective and very durable, this is a squirrel proof bird feeder than not only will prevent squirrels from eating birdseed, but they can’t chew or damage it either.
Squirrel Slinkies / Baffles
Squirrel slinkies are springed covers that can be put over the pole that supports ground-based bird feeders. The idea is that the squirrels will try to climb it but their weight will pull the slinky down and they’ll never get anywhere.
Does it work?
Not really. Squirrels are expert jumpers and will most likely scale the pole anyway, quickly learning to avoid the slinky section or actually use it as a jumping off point.
You can even get similar inventions that deliver a small static shock whenever a squirrel touches it. Extreme? It’s not painful and it may not take long for a squirrel to adjust its expectations and put its stomach first.
Separate Squirrel Feeders
Squirrels are highly intelligent and hoard food for the winter when normal sources are scarce. However, did you know that they don’t use their memory to find their food caches? They use their sense of smell…which often means that they never find those food sources again. So garden birds aren’t the only hungry creatures in the winter.
A good way of getting squirrels to leave your bird feeder alone is to provide them with a different, easy food source. If you have a decent squirrel resistant bird feeder, then they’ll simply use their new squirrel feeder instead and never bother the birds by trying to break into the hanging seed feeder.
Squirrels are hygienic and amusing, providing hours of entertainment for you and giving them their own feeder is a great way to support your small garden squirrel family. Territorial creatures, squirrels that want to stay in your garden will actively keep other squirrels out, meaning that if you have a family of four squirrels, you’ll probably never get any more than that.
Squirrel feeders are very affordable and for less than £15 you can have a really good one that will keep those squirrels content. This Squirrel Feeder can be attached to a tree to keep the squirrels safe from cats and foxes.
How to Keep Squirrels Away From Your Bird Feeder Feeder
Squirrels are Olympic jumpers and will climb trees, houses and telegraph poles just to get a decent jumping off point; a squirrel with a running jump can span the entire garden. Placing your hanging bird feeder at least 10 feet from any jumping points such as buildings, sheds, fences and trees is the best way to stump squirrels but this does beg the question of –what do I hang it from then? This is where baffles like the hanging domes come in handy.
How NOT to deter squirrels
[su_note note_color=”#f8b2b4″ radius=”13″] Popular methods of deterring squirrels over the years have involved coating the pole supporting the bird feeder with lubricants such as Vaseline. This isn’t a good idea because it can embed itself into the fur of squirrels and cause them serious damage. Animal fur is highly evolved to dry fast and keep the creature warm in winter and cool in summer.
When manmade chemicals get matted into fur it can prevent these things from happening and lead to injury and death. Cayenne pepper and hot peppers have also been used and while squirrels strongly dislike them (while birds are unaffected), the heat can cause injuries when squirrels or other animals get it in their eyes and on their skin.[/su_note]
Best Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeders
1. Nuttery Squirrel Proof Globe Bird Seed Feeder
This globe wire feeder excludes squirrels from getting to birdseed and works for large birds like pigeons and jackdaws too. Durable and very sturdy, this bird feeder will prevent squirrels from getting to the seed but it’ll also survive their attempts to break it open or chew through it. Soon they’ll give up and spend their time clearing up the seed that the birds have dropped onto the ground.
Very affordable, this is one of the best squirrel proof bird feeders on the market at the moment.
Nuttery Squirrel Proof Globe Bird Seed Feeder
- Strong and durable
- Effective at keeping squirrels and pigeons out
- Allows small birds to feed safely
- Can be heavy when full so may need to be taken down in strong winds.[/su_box]
You can buy the Nuttery Squirrel Proof Globe Bird Seed Feeder here.
2. Squirrel Buster Plus
This is another highly effective way of stopping squirrels is a feeder that works by using the squirrel’s weight against it. The huge weight disparity between a small collection of garden birds and a single adult squirrel means that the birds will never trigger the weight drop by themselves. When a squirrel sits on the perch, its weight will close the seed doors, stumping the squirrel and causing it to give up.
- Very sturdy
- Classic look
- Simple and effective
- Lifetime warranty against squirrel-caused damage
- Amazing 3 litre seed capacity
- A little pricier than other, less effective models
- Heavy with seed – take down in strong winds
You can check the price on Amazon here, there is often a great deal available on this feeder
3. Gardman Guaranteed Squirrel Proof Wild Bird Seed Feeder
Again a weight-based model, this works by the squirrel’s weight pushing the sliding metal shaft over the seed doors as it tries to climb down. This works well for squirrels who take the logical approach. Although squirrels who leap up from the ground might manage to get to the perch without triggering the mechanism. This can be solved by placing the hanging feeder more than 6 feet above the ground.
- Effective from squirrels taking the above route
- Can’t be damaged by chewing or breaking apart
- Looks good
- Not a very large seed capacity compared to similar bird feeders
It’s availablehere from Amazon
Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Summary
Squirrels are prolific and intelligent but they’re also territorial and a small amount of well-fed squirrels will keep all other squirrels away. If you have a real problem with squirrels then the Nuttery Globe is probably the best option as it prevents squirrels from accessing any seed at all and they’ll quickly get bored.
If you rarely have squirrels then you might be better off with a simple dome baffle to confuse any squirrels passing by or perhaps the Gardman seed holder that will soon shake off any attempts at its contents.
The most important thing to remember is that squirrels are;
- Experts at jumping – they can jump vertically around 6 feet and horizontally around 10 feet with a running jump
- Olympic climbers – they can climb almost anything if they put their minds to it
- True acrobats – thinking about suckering a bird feeder to a large window? Squirrels will learn the flawless sequence of leaps, bounds and flips just to get onto it
- Ferocious gnawers – Squirrels must gnaw on hard objects to keep their teeth neat and at optimum length and they won’t shy away from chewing through plastic. The best bird feeders should be made of metal.
A metal, hanging bird feeder is the best in all situations when it comes to both squirrels and cats. Invest in a durable feeder. Implement baffles or use an excluding globe shape and your garden birds will be singing happily and munching safely throughout the year.
In my own garden I use the PestOff Mixed Seed feeder by Roamwild which whilst not infallible deters 90% of squirrels.
Garden birds are one of the delights of having your own garden or going for a walk in the park and bird feeders attract all varieties of garden birdlife very quickly. While hanging bird feeders are excellent for keeping the bluetits safe from prowling cats, they’re not so good for keeping squirrels off.
Watching garden birds flit around your garden bird feeder is truly delightful, the delicate maneuvering, the variety of colours, the bobbing of their heads as the birds feed in front of you. Being able to observe these wonders of nature so closely, perhaps as you start a busy day, or whilst doing daily chores brings happiness and relaxation to almost everyone. Just imagine how many birds could call your garden home if they were sure that food was always available, un-molested by other animals.