Squirrels can be such a major nuisance around bird feeders, hence the baffle was invented. Aptly named to foil their shenanigans, lots of options are readily available to accommodate wood posts, garden poles, and hanging feeders too. Even fancy shepherd’s hooks have been taken into consideration, with a squirrel baffle that splits or opens to install – then locks back together.
With generally cooler temperatures in most parts of the country this summer, the busy nesting season has seen many birds on their second and third broods. Some use birdhouses (bluebirds, wrens, chickadees) and some don’t (cardinals, goldfinches, hummingbirds) preferring to nest in mature trees and shrubs.
Sadly, birdhouses get their share of thieves, from squirrels and raccoons, to snakes, cats and larger bully birds. Eggs and babies may be killed by territorial birds or eaten and just disappear all together.
The image at left is a bit fuzzy, but it illustrates the use of two different kinds of baffles protecting these houses. The one on the right is even home-made, using PVC pipe and an end cap from the home improvement store. It should really be at least 5 inches in diameter (this was our first try) and it works on the “rocking principle”.
A simple search for stovepipe baffle will show you how to make an expensive and effective design for posts or poles to thwart both raccoons and squirrels. Grow strong and thrive little bluebirds!
Starlings, European starlings have got to be the most annoying, nastiest bird in our yard. It’s usually temporary and then they move on. But sure as day if they start nesting around here, a scope will be a near-future purchase! Yes, it’s legal to shoot them, aggressive, invasive and non-native, they wreak havoc on native nesting birds like bluebirds, tree swallows and purple martins. Not to mention, they make the worst mess and hog all the food too. Like magicians, a tray full of mealworms can disappear in no time flat!
These baffles were just removed and cleaned not long ago. Starting with pole-mount squirrel baffle (at top) the picture was snapped before cleaning the hanging one. Why? Because there was a post on a social site glorifying starlings! Huh, are you kidding me? How could anyone possibly favor this bird? Is that not one of the filthiest things you’ve ever seen?
Using a squirrel baffle won’t stop starlings, but it sure does stop squirrels if used properly. If a feeder is hanging from a pole or shepherd’s hook, the pole-mount ones work best. They’ll keep squirrels from shimmying up the pole, but the bottom of the baffle must be at least must be at least 4.5 feet from the ground. Otherwise, they’ll jump right passed it. These wrap-around styles are perfect if there’s a ground stake at bottom, or decorative piece at top. Smart, smart design!
If your bird feeder hangs from a branch, then a hanging baffle would be appropriate. It blocks squirrel’s from climbing down onto the feeder from above. Feeder placement however should be at east 8 feet away from anything squirrels might jump from (sideways) to gain feeder access. The bottom of the actual feeder should also be at least 4.5 feet from the ground.
These general specs usually work well… unless you happen to host the occasional uber-squirrel! Feeder and baffle placement may then require some tweaking to avoid the critter’s shenanigans in full! As far as the starlings? They do make traps for these pesky birds… but you’re on your own. Actually the website Sialis.org gives some great examples on starling and house sparrow control if you’re hosting native cavity nesters in your yard.
Be gone dreaded starlings and come on spring!
As long as there’s food being offered for birds… there are pesky squirrels trying to get their fair share! And more than their share at that, little pigs can consume their own body weight in less than one week. It’s so frustrating in fact, some folks just give up on feeding their birds.
With the correct feeder, it doesn’t have to be this way at all. Should squirrels be a real nuisance around your place, and everything you’ve tried in the past doesn’t seem to work, a bird feeder with a built-in squirrel baffle may just be the answer.
Some companies who manufacture these are experts in the field… no pun intended. Designs have been tested and perfected over the years to thwart shenanigans of the most clever critters. Arundale, BirdsChoice, and Squirrel Buster are just a few. They pretty much guarantee that squirrels won’t get past the baffles that are incorporated into their designs.
Available in both hanging and pole-mounted styles, these high quality bird feeders will last for many seasons of squirrel-free enjoyment. Some of the designs have been around for years, with proven track records of success.
Save yourself birdseed, money and aggravation with a quality bird feeder that already includes a squirrel baffle… you birds will thank you too!