Pesky, seed-poaching squirrels are the bane of backyard bird watchers. If you go to the trouble of buying and stocking feeders to attract wild birds to your yard, the last thing you want to see is a marauding pack of pesky squirrels pilfering all the food.
The good news is, keeping the squirrels away from the food you put out for the wild birds is actually not that difficult. It can be as simple as buying the proper birdfeeder– in other words, one that is squirrel-proof. Take a look in any garden supply catalog and you’ll see that nearly every bird feeder offered has been designed to thwart the thieving squirrels. Though they vary greatly in style and size, most feeders on the market today all have one common goal: to keep furry squirrels out of the food intended for your fine feathered friends.
Some bird feeders are designed to tip sideways when the squirrels climb onto them, which subsequently flips the squirrels off onto the ground. Steel cage feeders store the birdseed inside a tube that is surrounded by metal bars. This design allows small birds to easily pass through the bars to get to the seed ports, while keeping the squirrels and larger birds out. Other innovative bird feeders use the latest technology to outsmart the squirrels. These feeders feature a weight-sensitive mechanism that closes the feed ports when sneaky squirrels try to grab a snack.
Dome-style squirrel baffles on top of the bird feeders usually do a pretty good job of keeping the squirrels from helping themselves to a meal. They provide wobbly and/or smooth surfaces that make it difficult for the squirrel to climb onto. If they do manage to climb onto the birdfeeder, it’s often so slippery that they just slide right off.
So step one in foiling the seed stealers is to buy a feeder with a squirrel-proof design. However, this doesn’t mean the squirrels won’t spend endless hours trying to get at the bird feed. They’re hungry critters too, after all, and very smart. So step two might be necessary if you’re going to successfully keep the squirrels out of your wild bird feeders.
This might seem like a radical idea at first, but consider buying the squirrels their own feeding station! Stock it with some yummy squirrel favorites such as peanuts, dried cobs of corn and sunflower seeds, and place it in a location that is far away from your birdfeeders. The squirrels will be too full, fat and happy to spend much time trying to raid the bird feeder, and the wild birds will be able to eat their food in peace.