Few backyard bird lovers are ambivalent toward squirrels. People either adore them or despise them, with not much middle ground. Regardless of your feelings towards these clever little rodents, nobody likes it when they ruin bird feeders, devour all the seed, and chase the songbirds away. Unless you’re ready to move to Australia or Antarctica – the only two continents on Earth with no squirrels—read on! Here are the best methods we know of to help you gain a little control over your fluffy-tailed neighbors.
Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders
A squirrel-proof bird feeder can be a great place to start, particularly if you only plan to have one or two feeders in your yard. There are three basic types of squirrel-proof feeders. Caged feeders like our Duncraft Squirrel Proof Selective (photo above), have a mesh barrier that make it tough for adult gray and fox squirrels to reach the food. Whether you want to feed seed, suet, seed logs, or even mealworms, you can find a caged feeder to serve it in style. A weight-activated feeder such as the Absolute II Bird Feeder has a spring mechanism that causes the feed ports to close when a squirrel or large bird hops on to eat. Many of these feeders are adjustable, so you can decide what weight squirrel/bird you want to welcome to your feeder. Other feeders have clever built-in baffles to prevent the squirrels from accessing the bird seed. Our Duncraft Squirrel-Proof Tilt-Top Feeder is an example of that style feeder.
A squirrel-proof feeder is a perfect solution for most backyards. The downside of this method is that small and juvenile squirrels can sometimes get into the caged feeders or may be too light to close the seed ports on a weight-activated style feeder. Very large squirrels sometimes figure out how to hang from their toes to reach the seed without putting weight on the closing mechanism, and if they are really desperate for food, they may start chewing on the feeder to try to access the goodies. Their strong front teeth can do quite a bit of damage. Sometimes the best prevention is to keep them from even getting to your feeder with a squirrel baffle.
Maybe you don’t want to get a new feeder. You’ve had it forever and it’s been fine until this one particular squirrel rode into town. You know the squirrel I mean – the one with the attitude. A simple baffle can be an easy way to, well, baffle the squirrels. They come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors but there are basically just two types: hanging baffles like the Duncraft Tilt Top Squirrel Baffle (above), and the pole-mounted style, like the Duncraft Pole Baffle. Either type will keep the squirrels from getting into your feeder. If you have very aggressive squirrels you might want to try combining a squirrel-proof feeder with a baffle.
If you have a number of non-squirrel proof feeders in your yard, a squirrel proof pole system, like the Squirrel Stopper System may be the way to go. A system like this can keep as many as eight feeders safe from marauding squirrels. The key to using one of these effectively is “location, location.” These fluffy acrobats can jump four to five feet vertically and seven or more feet across from a tree or structure, so you need to site your pole system far enough from anything the squirrels can use as a springboard to get onto your feeders.
The last idea we have for you is to give the squirrels a feeder of their own and they might just lose interest in your bird feeders. Fill a feeder like the Jack in the Box Squirrel Feeder with delicious peanuts or corn, at a distance from your bird feeders, and watch the squirrels learn how to enjoy their very own special treats. After all, these little guys are pretty entertaining. Why not just enjoy them?