Western Gray Squirrel Munching On A Nut photo by Larry Jordan
If you have squirrel problems, a squirrel-proof bird feeder may be your best answer. There are several species of ground squirrels and tree squirrels in North America. The Fox Squirrel and the Eastern and Western Gray Squirrels are the species of tree squirrels most commonly involved with causing problems for home owners and bird watchers.
Squirrel-proof bird feeders come in a variety of sizes and styles. They range from simple weight activated hopper feeders like the Homestead Super Stop-A-Squirrel, shown on the left, to the Droll Yankees’ Yankee Flipper that (harmlessly) propels the squirrels off of the feeder shown on the right. Watch this hilarious video of the Yankee Flipper.
One of the major problems bird watchers have with squirrels is the raiding of our feeders, but that’s not the only problem. The squirrel’s diet is made up mostly of nuts, fruits, plant buds, seeds and flowers, depending on the season and what’s available locally, but squirrels are not vegetarian. They also eat bird eggs and nestlings that they will snatch right out of birdhouses, or they will pounce on unsuspecting birds at feeders.
There are two clear strategies for solving the problem of keeping squirrels away from your bird feeders and birdhouses. You can prevent the (cute) pesky rodents from gaining access to your treasures or you can give them a better alternative.
Let’s tackle the preventative strategy first. There are some very simple ways to keep your birdhouses and bird feeders safe from squirrel damage. And let me add here that it is imperative to keep your birdhouses safe from possible predation. You can build your own predator guard from my plans or your can purchase squirrel baffles, which come in a variety of styles, sizes, shapes and colors.
The important point here is to keep squirrels away from your feeders and birdhouses right from the start. Squirrels are very persistent and once they find an easy source of food, they will try to overcome any obstacle you put in their way.
Squirrels are extremely agile and can leap eight feet or more and climb almost anything. For this reason alone, if you have squirrel problems in your yard, keep your bird feeders and birdhouses at least eight feet away from any tree limbs or man-made structures and install baffles on the supporting posts.
If you must hang your bird feeders in trees, you will want to keep them away from the main trunk and equip them with a dome baffle or simply use a squirrel-proof bird feeder that is designed with a dome-type top.
Another popular style of squirrel-proof bird feeders are the caged feeders. The caged feeders have a wire cage around the feed itself that prevents squirrels from getting to the seed.
Any of these squirrel-proof bird feeders or baffle feeder combinations should thwart even the most persistent squirrels. So let’s consider the second strategy of giving the squirrels a better alternative than your bird feeders or birdhouses for their banquets.
This strategy involves setting up a squirrel feeding station somewhere away from your bird feeders with stuff that squirrels like. There are several different squirrel feeders that not only let the squirrels enjoy the nuts, sunflower seeds and fruit they like the most, there are some that let you watch their antics as they feed on one of their favorite foods, corn on the cob.
So whether you love squirrels or hate ‘em, I hope I have given you some solutions to the “squirrel dilemma”. Maybe you have some new thoughts on how you can live with squirrels and keep your bird feeders and birdhouses off limits to these cute, furry critters.