A huge concern for backyard bird feeding is squirrels eating up all the bird seed and destroying the bird feeders. I personally love squirrels and don’t view them as a nuisance as some do.
With the proper bird feeder and a little planning, you can do you backyard bird feeding solemnly and live in harmony with these smart critters and enjoy your backyard bird visitors too. If you don’t feel as I do, there are some methods that will help to deter them and squirrel proof your yard.
Squirrel Proof Feeders For Backyard Bird Feeding
There are several different types of squirrel proof feeders on the market such as weight activated feeders that close off access to the feeder when a squirrel steps on the perch and metal cages that surround the feeder which allow smaller songbirds to feed.
1. A plastic or metal baffles are a great way to squirrel proof any type of feeder for your backyard bird feeding.
A baffle can be used above or below a regular feeder to prevent squirrels from reaching it. If you hang a feeder, you need the baffle above it. For feeders on a pole, you should have the baffle below. Squirrels do not like thistle seed so thistle feeders are not likely to get damaged.
2. Feeders should be located in an open area
We all have seen how acrobatic squirrels are and that they can jump from far distances. This being the case, feeders optimally should be located in an open area. A smooth pole at least 6 feet high with a baffle underneath the feeder is a great setup.
If you do use a pole, do not be tempted to grease or wax it to prevent the squirrels from climbing up. These products can coat their fur and the bird’s feathers as well and could make them vulnerable to predators.
3. Use bird seed with cayenne pepper
Another way of squirrel proofing for backyard bird feeding is to use bird seed with cayenne pepper that may or may not work. Even though literature says that birds don’t feel the effects of pepper the way other animals do, cayenne pepper can be added to the seed to deter squirrels.
4. Keep the underneath backyard bird feeding area clean of seeds
Another way of deterring squirrels is to keep the area underneath the feeder clean of seeds. Seed & Hull Digester is an enzymatic product that digests seeds and hulls naturally.
Underneath feeders should be kept clean regardless because it is a breeding ground for E. coli and parasites from moldy seed and bird droppings. This is obviously not a healthy environment for ground feeding birds or any other creatures that may feed underneath.
5. Do not ever be tempted to shoot or shoot at the squirrels to squirrel proof your backyard bird feeding area.
Not only is this unnecessary and cruel, but in many areas is against the law. Also, putting out poison should never be used because too many animals wild and domestic are at risk.
6. You can put harmless traps out
You can also relocate the squirrels but this would most likely be a never-ending process. If you don’t get any satisfaction from any of the methods described above and you’re not opposed to having squirrels in your backyard, you can always set up a nice squirrel feeding area with some of their favorite treats like corn and nuts away from the bird feeders.
Squirrels are all part of the backyard ecosystem so it is always best to try to live and learn to enjoy them.