Putting food out for wild garden birds in the winter can be a waste of money. You might find a squirrel clinging to the outside of your feeder one day and realize your birds have been getting thinner, while the local squirrel population has been getting fat instead. The problem is easy to solve with some inexpensive materials and half an hour or so of your time. Homemade baffles will thwart squirrel attacks on your wild birds' food. Bird feeders mounted on posts or poles and hanging bird feeders require different style baffles, but both types are quite simple to make.
Baffles for Posts and Poles
Cut a hole in your pipe caps to match the post or pole that the pipe is going to go around. Measure the sides of a square post. If it is 2 inches wide on each side, for example, you will need to cut a 2-inch square in the middle of your pipe cap. Use the ruler to find the middle of the cap and mark and cut the squares accordingly. For a pole-mounted feeder, measure the diameter of the pole and cut a circle in the middle of the pipe cap that will fit it. You can start your hole off with a drill, making a hole or holes in the cap which you can cut from, or between, with a hacksaw blade or sharp knife.
Secure the pipe cap onto the pipe with some waterproof adhesive tape.
Place a hose clip onto a pole, or a couple of galvanized steel nails in a post, at a height of 4 ft., ideally. This is to support the baffle so that it doesn't fall. The baffles will still wobble, however, causing a further obstacle to the squirrel in its attempted climb.
Slip your baffle over the top of your pole or post. Twist the baffle, if necessary, until the cap hole fits around the top of the post or pole and the baffle can slide down. Let the baffle down until it rests on its support.
Mount, or remount (if you had to remove it) the bird feeder, or table.
Baffles for Hanging Feeders
Find, or buy, a large plastic or metal funnel. Alternatively, drill a hole in the middle of a large shallow metal or plastic dish.
Tie a large knot in the bird feeder chain or rope approximately 6 inches above the actual feeder. Wrap or tie wire or string around the knot to enlarge it, if necessary.
Thread the upside down funnel, or inverted dish, down over the hanging chain or rope until it rests on the knot.
Hang the feeder with the funnel or bowl acting like a sloping roof that will stop squirrels from gaining purchase if they attempt to jump onto the feeder.