A Quick Guide on Making Your Bird Feeder Squirrel Proof

Rodmarc Edulan

Do squirrels raiding your bird feeder drive you completely nuts? You need to get a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

But there are some tips to follow to make sure your birds’ food is safe and secure.

  • Recognize that squirrels can’t generally jump further than five feet up from the ground, and no more than seven feet across from a vantage point like a tree or a building. They are unlikely to want to drop further than nine feet. Use these numbers to determine the best place for your feeder.

  • Squirrels may be amazing climbers but if you buy squirrel baffles and attach them to your pole you will prevent them from climbing up.
  • You could even turn a toy like a Slinky into one of these baffles. Simply thread your post through your Slinky and attach it under the feeder. Any squirrels dumb enough to try a climb will get an irritating ride back to the ground.
  • Suspend the feeder on a wire at least five feet off the ground and string some soda bottles on the wire on either side of the feeder. This will discourage and prevent squirrels from approaching.

  • Increase the value of your feeder by buying one that is protected by a cage. These bits of kit work well for small bird feeders.
  • Squirrels are lovers of the majority of bird seed types, but safflower seed, which is bitter to rodents, is not among them. Cardinals and titmice particularly enjoy safflower but squirrels do not.
  • Switch your wood or metal poles, which squirrels find easy to climb, for PVC or copper piping, which they find more challenging.
  • Because squirrels are adept foragers for seeds you may find that detritus from your feeders could be what is attracting them to raid your feeders. It’s advisable to keep the area beneath your feeders as clean as possible.

  • Because squirrels taste things in a different way to birds you can deter them by spicing up your seed mix. For example, birds are not affected by the heat from even the hottest chilli peppers, but squirrels most definitely are. Some bird enthusiasts insist on thoroughly mixing in small amounts of spicy additions like dried cayenne pepper, with their seed mixes. Just a tablespoon added to a 10lb bag of seed should do the trick. Use the method with caution though because there is a danger that the pepper could irritate a bird’s eyes.
  • A very popular tip that many people follow when they are squirrel-proofing their feeder is to hang a bar of Irish Spring soap in a sock close by. It is believed that the soap’s scent can repel squirrels along with other unwanted visitors.
  • Another common deterrent involves hanging your bird feeder from a spinning hook. You can also find feeders that have been designed to spin squirrels off.
  • If you are feeling generous to these rodent invaders than you could try giving them their own feeder. You could see how successfully you could deter them with dried corn cobs, or build a DIY squirrel feeder that offers them peanuts.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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