Find out the best ways to help your feathered friends eat, without the food getting stolen by pesky squirrels.
Feeding the birds is an adorable thing to do in your garden. It has many benefits for your family, for your garden and the local wildlife. The problem is that squirrels can often steal all the food leaving nothing for the birds.
If you want to help your feathered friends get their food, you’ll want to use squirrel-proof bird feeders. Standard bird feeders don’t protect what is inside from squirrels, whereas squirrel-proof bird feeders created in a way to keep that food safe for the birds.
By using the right types of bird feeders, you’ll be giving lots of support to the birds in your local area:
- 1 Why Feed Garden Birds?
- 2 Why Shouldn’t We Feed Squirrels?
- 3 So, How Do You Keep Squirrels Away From The Birds Food?
- 4 Setup A Bird Feeder Pole
- 5 Make Your Own Bird Feeder DIY Style: Squirrel Safe!
- 6 Place A Bird Feeder Away From Where Squirrels Can Jump
- 7 Offer Foods Squirrels Hate
- 8 Weight Sensitive Bird Feeders
- 9 Metal Cage Protection
- 10 Spinning Feeders
- 11 The Answer Is Not Harming Squirrels
Why Feed Garden Birds?
Food shortages can occur for birds whose wild habitats are increasingly reducing. Giving them food gives them a better chance of surviving food shortages.
In winter you will want to put food out regularly and try to make that food high in fat, something the birds need to stay warm. Once you start feeding the birds, you must continue to do so as they may be relying on you for food.
In spring and summer, you should change the type of food that you provide. Switch from fatty types to good worm, fruit and seed mixtures if you can which are better for the bird’s hygiene.
Why Shouldn’t We Feed Squirrels?
It isn’t that you shouldn’t feed squirrels, it is just that they might take all the food for every other animal in the garden. Instead, it is a great idea to offer the squirrels their feeder, so that way you can still enjoy them in the garden, but on better terms.
So, How Do You Keep Squirrels Away From The Birds Food?
Here are the best ways to keep squirrels away from the bird food:
Setup A Bird Feeder Pole
There are poles you can get which to stop squirrels from getting to the actual feeding station. They can eat any food that may have fallen, but otherwise, they can’t get on to the station.
You can get more heavy-duty options if you get a lot of bird traffic (or big fat wood pigeons!) or there are lightweight options which tend to be less of an issue for lawn installation.
You can sometimes buy the items that you can attach to poles to do the job. These items are called baffles, and they tend to be low cost. You can make a DIY baffle yourself too. Here are some DIY videos to inspire you.
Make Your Own Bird Feeder DIY Style: Squirrel Safe!
Place A Bird Feeder Away From Where Squirrels Can Jump
Squirrels can jump a vast distance (10 feet!), so you must place your bird feeders as far away from fences and trees as possible. You may have set up a squirrel-proof bird feeder, but if the squirrel can jump on to it, your efforts will fall flat.
Offer Foods Squirrels Hate
You could offer birds food that squirrels hate, which is certain types of seed. You can also place anything containing capsaicin on the feeder which will make squirrels have a hot and uncomfortable mouth, but it actually won’t affect the birds.
Weight Sensitive Bird Feeders
Weight sensitive bird feeders work by cutting off the access to the food once a particular (squirrel) weight is detected. Birds are so much lighter than squirrels, so this can be a highly effective way to keep food accessible only to the right species of wildlife.
Metal Cage Protection
Metal cage protection works by encompassing bird food in a cage that is big enough for birds to fly through and too small for squirrels to fit. It is vital to check reviews out for feeders like this as squirrels could get stuck and get hurt or even pass away trying to squeeze in the gaps, so it needs to be the right size to deter them, but not trap them.
Spinning feeders work by detecting a squirrel has climbed on and spinning them off. These types of feeders can be quite dangerous for squirrels.
These are some of the best options for keeping squirrels away from the bird food. There are many fantastic bird feeders available that can keep squirrels away, and many opportunities to adapt standard bird feeders. You can have a lot of fun with your setup, especially challenging the natural acrobatics of squirrels.
Setting up safe assault courses for the squirrels to enjoy to get to their food can be a fun activity to do with the kids on a sunny afternoon.
The Answer Is Not Harming Squirrels
It is so important not to try and harm squirrels as a repellant from your bird feeding activities. Many squirrel repellents like poison are dangerous for your pets and other wildlife, and they give the squirrels a horrible death. Glue traps are similarly horrific when it comes to the way they are so very inhumane.
You should also avoid adding slippery substances to your poles as this is likely to eventually kill the squirrel because it will affect their coat which keeps them warm.
The answer is never killing wildlife, just adapting your garden to safely deter the squirrels and focus your efforts on feeding the birds. In the best scenarios, you can feed both animals with different stations and enjoy all the wildlife your local area has to offer, as every wild animal has something to offer the ecosystem.
We hope that our tips and information above has helped you feel inspired to adjust your garden to keep all the visitors happy and safe. For more information about supporting local wildlife, humane pest control and gardening, please check out the Wezaggle blog which we are always updating.