The presence of birds and their singing add to the feeling of serenity in your garden. So, if you want a regular visit from different bird species around your area, a bird feeder can help attract our feathered friends to hang around and keep coming back. But the thing is, it can also draw the squirrels to get their meal from the feeder. Yes, we should love all creatures from nature even wildlife, but a swarm of squirrels can be disastrous not only to your bird feeders, bird food but also to your garden. They can be cute and cuddly to observe from afar, except they are also hoarders and can be hostile that will chase the birds away. Squirrels can also wreak destruction to your garden furniture, destroy bird feeders trying to get a seed, and can prey on bird eggs and chicks.
To prevent this type of problem, using squirrel-proof bird feeders are to be installed. There are already pre-made, squirrel-proof bird feeder products you can purchase to save you time from making your own. But if you prefer customized feeders to fit perfectly to your need you can always D.I.Y. with the right materials.
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On with the Preparation
Whether you are buying ready-made squirrel-proof bird feeders or constructing your own, checking your options could be a budget-saver. Reading product reviews, checking which materials to use and how much you will need to shell out will get you the best value for your money. Bird feeders can also be made with re-purposed materials and recyclables such as plastic bottles to put the bird food in. Just add a squirrel-resistant factor to the caged feeds and it’s good to go.
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If you’ve been around to observe the behaviour of the squirrel, it will give you an idea of how you could deter this wildlife. By also observing your garden’s and your house’s layout, you can plan ahead of the location where you will put your squirrel-proof bird feeder. If you have somewhere to hang a bird feeder, you can use tie wire or any thin-made wires that will make it difficult for a squirrel to walk on to reach the feeder. The key is using materials that birds can access but squirrels won’t.
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Get the Work Done
If you purchase ready-made squirrel-proof bird feeders, then you have fewer things to set up. These products are specifically designed to prevent the squirrels from getting the feeds out of the feeder but installing should still be done strategically to maximize its use.
There are different techniques you can do to squirrel-proof your bird feeders. Some might require more work, while some are no sweat to follow.
Get the Squirrels Away from the Feeder
Placing the bird feeder to a location where the squirrels can’t access can definitely help. Avoid installing the feeders where squirrels can climb such as trees, gutters, roofs, and areas where squirrels can jump on to reach the bird feeder. A squirrel can jump a distance of 10 feet. Any nearby branch or any object within the 10-ft range of the bird feeder can be a potential launching pad for the squirrels to get to the food. So, to keep them away, don’t help them get near your bird feeder.
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Cage the Feeder
Some of the ready-made bird feeders are caged already. If you just use recyclable materials or bird feeders with no cage, you can cage it using wire around the feeder. Make sure the enclosure has a big enough gap to let the bird through but keep the squirrels and larger birds out to bully the small ones.
Baffle it Up
You can make a D.I.Y. baffle for your bird feeder using any round 15-18 inches wide plastic or metal material. The baffles on top of the bird feeder will stumble squirrels who will climb above the feeder. Baffles throw the balance of any wildlife that is heavy.
Spin Them Around
Just like a baffle, the spinner works to tumble the squirrels down as they climb the bird feeders. To make a spinner, simply hang the bird feeder using a thin wire to cause the feeder to spin when climbed on.
Choose a Squirrel Resistant Poles
Poles made from metal and wood are easier to be climbed by squirrels but greasing is not a solution. You can either use PVC-made and copper-made poles to squirrel-proof your bird feeder standing on the pole.
Keep the Ground Clean
Let’s face it, birds are not really neat eaters when feeding and will unavoidably leave seeds on the ground that can invite not just squirrels but also rodents that consume seeds. Seeds in your backyard are an open invitation for them to come and invade the source of their food – the bird feeder of course. So, before it happens, tidy your surroundings before you get an infestation.
Tweak Your Seed
You can add few chili seeds to your feeder to discourage the squirrels from returning to the bird feeders. Don’t worry about the birds since they don’t have the heat sensitivity for consuming spicy seeds unlike the squirrels do and other mammals. You can try cayenne peppers with a ratio of 1 tablespoon of spice to 10 pounds of seeds. Also, when handling spices wear gloves and cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling grounded pepper.
You can also use safflower seeds instead of your regular supplied seeds that squirrels also tend to enjoy. Cardinals and titmice appreciate safflower on their feeder.
Squirrel-proof bird feeders don’t have to be complicated, you just have to use your creativity to solve your squirrel problem. You can buy a pre-made squirrel-proof feeder or make your own. But no matter how much you want to get rid of the squirrels from hanging around your backyard, remember to never resolve to violence. You can contact wildlife authorities if your problem persists beyond your efforts but never ever hunt them down, poison, and trap with glue.