As a birder, there isn’t much out there more frustrating than the sight of a squirrel hanging on to the side of your bird feeder. These bushy-tailed fiends are often relentless in their pursuit of your backyard bird seed.
Although there is some relief out on the market today with products like Squirrel Buster Bird Feeders, we wanted to compile a list of things you can do with common household items to keep these unwanted visitors at bay.
Said to be about 99% effective, some folks are now employing the power of the popular children’s toy, Slinky into protecting their bird feeders. Simply attach one end of the slinky to the top of the pole, and let the pole run through the centre of the slinky. You’ll find squirrels will try to jump onto the pole, and quickly be lowered back down to the ground thanks to the elasticized toy.
There are many natural foods that squirrels do not enjoy, the trick of course, is not deterring or harming the birds in any way. Many folks swear by cayenne pepper, stating that squirrels hate the spice. Personally, I wouldn’t want to have an unwanted taste of cayenne pepper, and I’m sure my birds wouldn’t either, so it’s not something I would sprinkle around my feeders. This being said, there are other less harmful foods that can work just as effectively. The most recommend is safflower. It is quite unappealing to squirrels, and also is popular with cardinals, house finches, chickadees, nuthatches, and mourning doves.
The Slippery Post
Changing your pole to a more slippery alternative like metal or PVC typically solves plenty of squirrel problems around your bird feeder. Some folks would recommend going a step further and greasing the pole with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly as well. Use caution with this, as sometimes these products can get on fur and feathers and cause matting. In the winter, an animal with a badly matted coat could end up freezing to death. Food for thought.
Design a Homemade Squirrel Baffle
There are many ways this can be accomplished using items found around your home. One note of caution: over time, squirrels with figure out and exploit your homemade baffle using persistence and trial and error. On the bright side, it keeps your mind in an innovative state!
When All Else Fails, Feed Them
Accepting defeat, many homeowners have succumbed to simply feeding the squirrels rather than fighting them off their bird feeders. Find an area away from the feeder and simply sprinkle some food on the ground, so long as it is on the ground, the squirrels most likely won’t bother with fighting their way into a heavily protected bird feeder.