How To Keep Squirrels off a Bird Feeder

Squirrels are arguably one of the most adorable rodents with small human like hands and doe like eyes, but alongside their enviable traits lie their not so desirable ones. For instance, squirrels have a voracious appetite and ability to eat much of your expensive wild bird feed. They are also intent upon storing as much food as possible for the winter, and they have no shortage of places to hide it. This intense appetite paired with intelligence and an agile body makes the squirrel a formidable opponent.

It is often easier to find ways to live with the squirrels rather than remove them.

  • One method commonly used to keep squirrels out of bird feeders is to grease the pole holding up the feeder. If you choose to grease the pole, a Crisco type of vegetable shortening is what you will need. You will also need to re-grease the pole as needed, weekly should suffice.
  • It is also advisable to place your feeder on a high pole, the higher the better and away from buildings and trees. A squirrel is an acrobat and uses any prop available to achieve seemingly impossible feats of bird feeder infiltration. If there are branches drooping within 5 feet of your feeder, it would be wise to trim these back.
  • There are products currently on the market designed to address the problem. Squirrel proof feeders have become quite common. A squirrel may still be able to take seed from such a feeder by climbing on top and shaking the seeds onto the ground, where he may gather them at his leisure. Another product is a feeder that has an "electric" pole that will deliver a gentle zap when a squirrel is on the pole. The electricity is as harmless as an electric fence and will not deliver a shock to birds.
  • Yet another option to rid your bird feeder of pesky squirrels is to feed safflower seeds instead of sunflower seeds, which are irresistible to squirrels. They don't like safflower seeds, but wild songbirds enjoy them.
  • The cheapest and best way to keep squirrels off of a bird feeder is to provide the squirrels with their own feeding area. Retailers that carry wild bird feed are now carrying feed products that are lovely to squirrels, along with feeders designed with your furry friends in mind. Place the special area about 10 feet away from where you feed the wild birds. An added benefit is there is a whole array of wild birds who are attracted to squirrel feeds, and you may find a wider variety of birds attracted to your yard. 

Squirrels are agile and comical creatures, by choosing to live with them you may find yourself enjoying their antics.


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