Feeding wild birds is a wonderful pastime—especially during the winter when food can be scarce for local wildlife. A little birdseed helps our feathered friends through those colder months, and we get to enjoy the colorful varieties of wild birds making frequent visits to our yard. However, there’s one other local critter who tends to be a bit of a hog with birdseed and nuts. You probably know who we’re talking about: those pesky squirrels. Squirrels will hoard away all the good stuff for themselves instead of letting the birds have their share. Sure, they’re cute and all, but their table manners could use a little work.
Figuring out how to keep squirrels off bird feeders can seem like an impossible mission, but it’s all a matter of equipping yourself with the right products and tools. Here are a few creative ways to keep the squirrels at bay:
Choose The Right Feeder
Use a squirrel-proof feeder: Squirrels are crafty little fellas, so purchasing a feeder that’s specifically designed to keep them out is a pretty simple solution. We have several models available in-store, in plenty of different shades to suit your home’s color palette. We love the Brome Squirrel Buster Cardinal Feeder in this ultra-trendy shade of emerald green. Perfect for the holidays, and the vibrant red cardinals will make your backyard scenery all the more festive!
Motorized feeders are another squirrel deterrent that quite literally throw squirrels for a loop. These higher-end feeders, like the Droll Yankees Yankee Flipper Bird Feeder, have a weight sensor that triggers when a squirrel hops on. Once the squirrel grabs onto the perch, the motor sends the feeder spinning. Talk about flying squirrels!
Add some spice to the seed: If you already have a feeder that you aren’t willing to part with or replace with a squirrel-proof option, this is a sneaky solution you can do that’s safe for birds. Birds can’t detect spice in their food, but squirrels are highly sensitive to it, so a spiced seed blend is the best food to feed birds without tempting the hungry squirrels. You can purchase a pre-mixed spicy seed blend, like our Wild Delight Sizzle N’ Heat mix, or you can add a special spice blend to mix into your existing birdseed, like our Fire Mix Squirrel Deterrent. We even sell spiced suet blocks, which provide an extra helping of healthy fat to help birds retain energy through the winter.
Use an aerosol squirrel repellent: Our Squirrel Stopper Spray isn’t just useful for stopping squirrels from eating bird food—it can also keep them away from your garden bulbs, your attic, or anywhere else where they may cause damage. It dries clear, we can’t detect the smell, and it lasts for 30 days through rain or snow. It’s safe to use on concrete or any other hardscaping features in your yard, so it’s a very versatile product.
Install a baffle underneath feeders on poles: If you’ve got one of those cute vintage wooden feeders on top of a pole, placing a baffle underneath will keep those pesky rodents from climbing up and chowing down. A baffle is a plastic dome that curves downward, making it much trickier for them to hop up. We carry them at both our Frankfort, IL, and St John, IN locations.
Grease the bird feeder pole: For another great solution for how to keep squirrels off a feeder post, you can apply some grease onto your pole to make it too slippery for squirrels to climb. Spread it on generously, and the squirrels will slip and slide down the pole, eventually giving up and searching for another food source.
Where To Place Your Feeder
Suspend your feeder on a long string, away from low-hanging branches: We have tons of cute ornamental feed hangers, like our Fruit Berry Nut & Seed Bell, and our Holiday Seed Wreath. To keep the squirrels off, try to hang feeders from a spot where the squirrels can’t leap onto it.
Set up a specific area lower to the ground for squirrels to feed: If there’s a more accessible source of food for squirrels to feast on, such as a peanut feeder, they’ll be less likely to bother trying to get into the feeders you’ve set up for the birds.
As cute as squirrels may be, the birds deserve a fair shot at your feeders. To set up some feeding stations for our feathered friends, visit us at one of our locations in Frankfort, IL, or St John, IN, and we’ll help you find the best seed blends and squirrel-proofing solutions for your home. For tips on taking care of mice in the garden, check out our other blogs on pest control.