How to Squirrel Proof a Bird Feeder

How to Squirrel Proof a Bird Feeder image by dasherhart:


Squirrels are cute and fuzzy woodland creatures that can tear apart the average bird feeder and scare away all of the birds you are trying to attract. They dump the food on the ground, take it all and keep it for themselves and come back the next day for more. Man has tried for decades to come up with squirrel-proof bird feeders--many have tried and many have failed--and after many years of trial and error, a few designs shine through. The principle behind keeping a squirrel out is to make it an inhospitable place to be. Freely spinning, slippery plastic bottles do the trick every time.

Step 1

Choose a spot to hang your feeder. It must be able to be suspended with a horizontal wire at least six feet off the ground and at least four feet away from the side supports. If you don't have a pre-made spot, you can bury the ends of two four-by-four posts into the ground at eight feet apart. Be sure to bury them at least two feet into the ground to secure them.

Step 2

Remove the lids from the plastic bottles, and poke holes in the bottoms of each bottle with the ice pick. Center the hole as closely as possible.

Step 3

Poke a smaller hole in the center of two bottle caps for use as stoppers on the ends.

Step 4

Attach the cable to one of the supports and string the cable with one bottle cap, then three of the bottles. Be sure that the holes in the bottom are large enough to let the bottles spin freely. String the bottle cap facing away from the bottles.

Step 5

String the bird feeder onto the cable and then the other three bottles. Finish with the other bottle cap facing away from the bottles. It doesn't matter which direction the bottles are in, just that they spin freely.

Step 6

Attach the other end of the cable, pulling the cable tightly and suspending the bird feeder. Let the cable slope slightly in the middle to keep the bottles against the feeder. Align the bottles and feeder so that the feeder is in the middle of the cable, and the bottles are closely aligned on either side. This will prevent the squirrels from running along the line--when they hit the bottles, they will spin and send the squirrels to the ground.

Step 7

Fill the feeder with your favorite bird seed and allow the birds to feast.

Tips and Warnings

  • When planning your cable, be sure to place it at a safe height so that no one walks into any exposed cable.

Things You'll Need

  • A hanging bird feeder
  • Thin cable for outside use
  • Six empty soda bottles--two liter size--labels removed
  • Ice pick or sharp utensil
  • Two clothespins or small clamps


  • Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders: Mother Earth News
  • Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder: Humane Society of the US

Who Can Help

  • Squirrel Proof Feeders
  • Roller Feeder
Keywords: squirrel proofing your bird feeder, squirrel proof a bird feeder, keep squirrels out of your bird feeder

About this Author

Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.

Photo by: dasherhart: