How to Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders that Work!
Birds seem ravenous this time of year, feeders are being emptied at record rates, so nobody needs squirrels swiping seed! Partly due to the fall migration, and partly because resident birds know winter is coming soon. As daylight hours become shorter, birds flying south must fuel up for their long journeys, while many residents will simply cache seeds and nuts for future meals later in the season. Nuthatches and jays are famous for this practice.
Many folks think squirrel proof bird feeders just don’t work, while others are bummed because the popular Squirrel-Away powder is no longer available. It’s amazing how many non-believers there are; from face-to-face discussions at a recent show, to customers from our website, they just don’t believe anything will deter their superman-like squirrels from feeders!
Ah… but there are ways, and it’s mostly about placement of the feeders themselves and using baffles! One secret is the “horizontal launching point”. If squirrels can jump sideways from anything to gain feeder access, chances are they will – no, it’s guaranteed they will!
When placed correctly, baffles turn any feeders into squirrel-proof feeders. Be it hanging, pole mounted, or post mounted… they absolutely work at foiling the critters!
For hanging feeders, the baffle circumference must be a good bit larger than the feeder itself – at least 1/3 larger. A 20-inch clear acrylic baffle works great, we use them in our yard. The bottom of this feeder should be no less than 4.5 feet from the ground. Lastly, it must hang at least 8 feet away from a tree trunk, pole, or anything else a squirrel might jump sideways from to gain access.
For pole or post mounted feeders, again be sure the bottom of the feeder is at least 4.5 to 5 feet from the ground. Remember the horizontal launch point – anything squirrels might jump from sideways to gain access. One other consideration is a potentially taller launch spot; anything the critters might jump down from to get to the feeder. A lot of thought for just one feeder? Maybe so, but well worth the effort!
Say you have a a fancy shepherd’s hook that no baffle will fit over on either end? Not a problem with an innovative locking baffle that opens for fast installation.
Some pole systems have built-in baffles that are excellent at thwarting squirrels. The Squirrel Stopper is one such system. It’s received fantastic reviews because of sturdy construction, durability and good looks! Hang up to eight feeders, baths or even flower baskets from this gem!
It’s a matter of “if you build it – they won’t come”. By putting some careful planning in place, you can squirrel proof any type of bird feeder against pesky squirrels!
When Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders Quit
Around my yard there are enough squirrels for a football game. Although I do feed them, every single bird feeder and birdhouse is protected by a baffle. Whether hanging, or pole mounted, the baffles pretty much ensure these are squirrel proof bird feeders.
The feeder set up shown at left has run into a small problem this season. There is a butterfly bush behind it that has grown twice it’s size from last year. Now my little crafty squirrels have figured out how to shimmey on out to the end of the thicker branches and leap to the feeders.
It’s pretty funny watching them, but not so funny having to fill the feeders every single day. So in this case, the squirrel proof bird feeders have quit being squirrel-proof due to landscaping growth.
The best plan? Relocate this pole to a spot where squirrels can not launch from any landscaping!