Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Keep Squirrels out of Bird Feeders

By Ariana Cherry-Shearer ; Updated September 21, 2017

While squirrels can be cute and quite entertaining to watch, they can be an annoyance when you are trying to feed the birds. Most squirrels naturally assume that any food set out has been left for them. If you are a serious bird-watcher and want to protect your bird feeders from squirrels, there are actions that you can take to distract them.

Buy bird feeders that are created to be squirrel proof. Some are created by only holding so much weight, so that if a squirrel tries to go after the food, the feeder will shut. You can also buy bird feeders that have metal cages built around them.

Purchase a squirrel feeder and feed the squirrels. Set out food just for squirrels to eat. Squirrels enjoy cobs of corn, nuts, seeds and fruit. This will distract them from trying to get into the bird feeders.

Find a post that the squirrel will be unable to climb on. Do not use wooden posts. Set up your bird feeders on metal or PVC poles. This will make it more challenging and slippery for the squirrel to try to climb on.

Put in seeds and food that will not attract a squirrel's appetite. Use safflower seed, which is often used as an alternative to sunflower seed. Mix the birdseed with a spice like cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper will not harm birds, but it will keep the squirrels away.

Set up a squirrel trap. Place a favorite food such as corn or nuts inside the trap to attract the squirrel. Once the squirrel has been trapped, you can take him to the park or the woods to release him. Be sure to get professional advice on trapping animals before you attempt this though.


Things You Will Need

  • Squirrel proof bird feeder
  • Slippery pole
  • Squirrel food (nuts, fruit, corn)
  • Squirrel feeder
  • Animal (squirrel) trap

About the Author


Ariana Cherry-Shearer began writing for the Web in 2006. Cherry-Shearer's work has appeared at websites such as GardenGuides, GolfLink and Trails. She also writes a weekly blog and has published collections of poetry. Cherry-Shearer earned a certificate in computer applications from Lakeland Community College.