How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Seed

Overview

Keeping squirrels out of stored birdseed is relatively easy by using a sturdy sealed container, but keeping them out of birdseed in the feeder poses a bigger challenge. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology reports that squirrels can leap a distance of 8 feet horizontally, and they can jump down from roofs or trees to a distance of 11 feet. The first step to keeping squirrels out of your birdseed is to hang the feeder out of their reach, but there are other techniques you can try as well.

Step 1

Install a squirrel baffle between the pole and the feeder or between the hanger and the feeder to prevent squirrels from accessing the feeder. Install baffles under pole feeders so the open end faces downward blocking access to the feeder. Hang baffles above hanging feeders so the open end faces downward toward the feeder. When squirrels try to reach the feeder the baffle tips, throwing them to the ground.

Step 2

Hang squirrel-proof bird feeders. These feeders typically feature a wire cage around a feeding tube that allow birds to feed while blocking access for squirrels. Wire cages may prevent large gray squirrels from entering the feeder, but small red squirrels often squeeze between the wires. Squirrels may also hang upside down and feed through the holes.

Step 3

Provide squirrels with an alternate food source in a separate location. Squirrels are attracted to squirrel feeders filled with corn, or holders with whole ears of dried corn, but generally these provide only a temporary deterrent.

Step 4

Suspend bird feeders from a horizontal wire. Place two to three recycled soda bottles on each side of the feeder. Drill a hole in the bottom of the bottle and thread the wire through the drilled hole and out through the bottle opening. Place the feeder in the middle and suspend the wire between two trees or posts. When the squirrel tries to run along the wire to access the feeder, the bottles spin on the wire, throwing the squirrel to the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Squirrel baffle
  • Squirrel-proof feeders
  • Squirrel feeders
  • Heavy wire
  • Drill
  • 1/4- to 1/2-inch drill bit
  • 2-liter soda bottles

References

  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology: What Can You Do About Squirrels?
  • University of Illinois Extension: Outsmarting Squirrels at Birdfeeders
  • K-State Extension: Tree Squirrel Prevention and Control
Keywords: squirrel-proof bird feeders, control squirrels, squirrel baffles

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.