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How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders – Keep Squirrels In Check!

Looking for a way to finally stop those tricky squirrels from robbing your bird feeders?

Squirrels are notorious for stealing from bird feeders at will. With their ability to climb, spring and fly great distances, they often foil even the best efforts to keep them away. And once they find a reliable food source, they don’t stop coming back!

It can be frustrating for our feathered friends for sure. Especially in the colder months when overwintering birds often use the food in feeders to help them survive. Unlike squirrels, who store food away for the barren winter months, birds have to forage daily for food. And when squirrels rob the feeders they have come to rely on, it can make life difficult.

stop squirrels from robbing bird feeders
Squirrels are quite the acrobats when making their way to bird feeders.

It can also be frustrating for those who love to feed birds. Even more so when you consider the cost of continually having to purchase bird seed to refill feeders! But as amazing and acrobatic as squirrels can be in getting to bird feeders – there are a few tips and tricks that can stop them in their tracks. And in the process – keep the bird feed for the birds!

With squirrels stopping success in mind – here is a look at some simple but effective solutions that can keep squirrels from stealing the food from your bird feeders for good!

How To Protect Your Bird Feeders From Squirrels

Using Hot Pepper In Bird Feed – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

Although humans, squirrels, deer and many other animals can taste the heat of hot peppers – birds cannot. The burning sensation from hot peppers comes from capsaicin, an active ingredient found within the flesh and seeds of the fruit of a pepper plant.

Although mammals and humans are both highly sensitive to the capsaicin, birds are not. That means by simply adding hot pepper flakes or powder to your bird feed mix, you can greatly deter squirrels from coming back for more.

To doctor your feed, simply sprinkle it with cayenne or any other hot pepper flakes or powder before placing it into your bird feeders. With one taste of the heat, the squirrels are usually more than happy to move on to other sources of food.

Hot Pepper Seed
Hot pepper bird seed can be used all by itself, or added to mixes to help keep squirrels away.

In addition to doctoring your own bird feed, you can also purchase ready made seed mixes with the heat already inside. They are great as a stand alone food source, or when added to your current bird seed to help protect it. Affiliate Product Link: Cole’s BH05 Blazing Hot Blend Bird Seed

If you also happen to feed your birds suet, you can mix heat in if you make your own – or purchase ready-to-go suet with hot pepper spice inside. Affiliate Product Link: Blue Seal Hot Pepper Suet Cakes

Use A Squirrel Proof Feeder – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

Another highly effective way to keep squirrels at bay is to use squirrel-proof feeders. It’s important to note on this subject, nothing can ever be truly 100% squirrel proof – but using these feeders will greatly decrease squirrel issues for sure.

There are quite a few models on the market to select from. For best results, choose a squirrel proof feeder that can hold up to the weather and outdoor elements. Unfortunately, many plastic styles are simply not strong enough to stand up to winter weather or summer storms.

how to stop squirrels from robbing bird feeders
Metal squirrel proof bird feeders can give you a hand up on protecting feed for birds.

Installing Squirrel Baffles – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

One of the quickest and easiest ways to keep squirrels and other animals from pole-style bird feeders is with a squirrel baffle. Not only are they easy to install, they work wonders in keeping them from climbing bird house posts. Even better, they are fairly good at protecting against raccoons and chipmunks too!

Squirrel baffles are an upside down cone that squirrels have difficulty getting around. The cone extends far enough out of the bottom that it’s unable to grip above the pole. Because of that, it simply can’t gain access above to the feeder.

Most models of squirrel baffles install right to the post without having to remove it. For maximum effectiveness, locate your feeders at least 5′ off of the ground. This prevents squirrels from leaping up and above to the feeder. Product Link : Audubon Squirrel Baffle Wrap

Using Slinkies – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

Believe it or not, the toy you used to send down the stairs and watch it “slink” down is also quite effective at stopping squirrels from getting to bird feeders!

baffles to stop squirrels
Both baffles and slinkies can be used under bird feeding poles to keep squirrels from climbing up.

Much like the squirrel baffle, a good old-fashioned slinky can prevent squirrels from climbing up a bird feeder pole. The spongy metal is simply too annoying and difficult for squirrels to navigate. (Product link : Classic Metal Slinky)

To install, slide the slinky over the bird feeding post and use zip ties to secure it. Slightly expanding the coils can protect a longer area of the pole. As with the squirrel baffle, make sure to place it to cover at least 5′ up the post. Any lower, and squirrels can quite easily jump above it.

Preventive Strategies – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

Last but not least, there are some great preventative measures you can take that in combination with the tips above can all but eliminate squirrels in your feeders. The first begins with locating your bird feeder in the least advantageous spot for a squirrel to get to the food.

More than anything else, never locate your bird feeder on a tree or within a short distance from a tree. It is like giving a squirrel an instant ladder and a free ride to success.

Squirrels can easily jump distances of five to six feet. And if your feeder is located close to a tree, they can easily fly right to the feeder. Even worse, that very same tree gives the squirrels natural protection from predators.

For best results, locate your bird feeder out in an open area. Be sure to keep it away from short walls, shrubs and other easy access points for squirrels. Most importantly of all, make sure your bird feeder post is long! Any post under 5′ in height is easy prey for a leaping squirrel. For best results, select posts that are at least 6′ tall.

A Few More Tips – How To Stop Squirrels From Robbing Bird Feeders

It’s also important to keep the ground area under feeders as clean as possible. Large amounts of fallen food will attract squirrels, raccoon and other pests quickly. And when the ground food is gone, the feeder will become their next target

You can also select bird feed mixes that squirrels are not particularly fond. Select mixes with white millet or safflower seeds or add these to your existing feed. Why? Because squirrels detest both and will not be as attracted to come feed!

Here is to keeping squirrels from robbing your bird feeders once and for all this year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

Old World Garden Farms

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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