Watching the birds gather around your feeder and enjoy a treat is enjoyable and relaxing. Trying to keep the squirrels from stealing all the bird seed can be extremely frustrating. Squirrels are notorious for getting into bird feeders and taking all the food for themselves. Not only do they steal the food, but they are also known for destroying the feeders. Luckily, there are helpful ways to build a squirrel resistant bird feeder.
Location is Everything
Squirrels can climb most anything and they can jump great distances, but they can not fly. The simplest squirrel proof bird feeder is one that is located at least twelve feet from all surrounding objects and mounted on a tall, metal pole. Be sure to take into account all tree branches, clothes lines and any other objects a squirrel might be able to jump from.
When dealing with feeders in the yard, consider adding something to the pole that will make it slippery. Stove pipe can be wrapped around poles, making them slippery enough that the squirrels can’t climb it. Take the slick surface up at least one meter, and include a squirrel baffle at the top for added protection. Another option is to attach the stove pipe just below the feeder, being sure to carry it down a good distance.
Get a Bigger Baffle
Squirrel baffles are round discs that sit just under, or just above, the feeder. But some squirrels are truly persistent and can get around these contraptions. Go for a bigger baffle by attaching clear plastic roofing around the base of the feeder. Use plenty of screws so the squirrels can’t force their way between the roofing and the feeder. Also make sure the roofing extends at least 30 cm below the feeder for those very persistent squirrels.
Mount the Baffles Right
Baffles should be mounted loosely. You want them to spin and shift when a squirrel tries getting around it. This way the squirrel will fall off rather than being rewarded with bird seed. Squirrels are crafty and a baffle that stays put is one that they can get around.
Build a Cage Around Your Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder
One simple fact of wildlife is that birds are small while squirrels are not. Another idea for a squirrel proof bird feeder is to place the feeder inside a hanging cage. Leave an opening in the mesh that is large enough for birds to enter through, but small enough to keep the squirrels out. The mesh must be metal or the squirrels will simply chew through it. Check the edges of the opening for the birds to be sure they are not sharp.
Place a piece of sheet metal or plexiglass just 8 cm away from the opening. Smaller birds will be able to get through this corridor to the food, but squirrels won’t. If sheet metal is used, be sure to fold the sides back towards the outside so the birds don’t injure themselves on the edges.
Mount your bird feeder on a rod extending from the house or fence post. Place a baffle between the mounting surface and the feeder. Be sure the baffle will spin, as this will prevent the squirrels from getting to the food.
Add Safflower Seeds
Squirrels don’t like these seeds, but birds enjoy them. One simple way to make your feeder less attractive is to pick up some of these seeds and add them to your feeder.
Feed the Squirrels
One option is to simply break down the feed the squirrels, too. It’s still a good idea to have squirrel deterrents around your bird feeders, but providing them with some food in another area can help you save your favorite feeders and still enjoy the birds.
Feeding the birds is enjoyable and you are sure to enjoy their songs. Squirrels may have their own cute factor, but the damage they do to bird feeders can be quite vexing. Try these tips to make your own squirrel proof bird feeder so that you can enjoy the benefits of feeding the local birds without having to worry about backyard squirrels.
If you’re not interested in making your own there are plenty of pre-fabricated models to choose from.