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How to Keep Squirrels Off a Bird Feeder

By Bill Elzey ; Updated September 21, 2017

Common techniques for keeping squirrels off of a bird feeder include greasing the bird feeder support pole or wrapping tin foil around the pole. However, these techniques may not work, so just let the squirrel at the bird feeder because it spreads the feed on the ground where the birds can get at it more easily. Learn about suggestions for coping with squirrels eating bird feed in this free video on lawn care from a landscaping professional.


I'm Bill Elzey with Showplace lawns. How to keep squirrels out of or off of a bird feeders. Well that's not a very easy thing to accomplish. There are several things that you can try and having experienced those I will tell you what happened. We put a feeder up and we greased the pole thinking that the squirrels couldn't climb the pole to get to the feeder. They did. We put tin, took some roofing tin and wrapped around that pole thinking that squirrels could not climb up to that bird feeder. They still got there. How did they get there? Just happened to notice one day that they were up in the tree and they pushed that branch all the way down and jumped off on to the bird feeder. Immediately went and trimmed down that branch thinking that we finally had solved our problems. The squirrel found another tree on the other side of the bird feeder and did the same thing with the tree branch. Where upon that tree got trimmed. I have talked to several people who have used these squirrel proof bird feeders that you can buy at the feed stores, hardware stores, other places and they have said that they don't work either because the squirrels get on them and even thought they can't get in them, they shake the feeders and spill the bird feed. What we've discovered is that the birds and the squirrels mingle together and get along just great. The squirrels are running up the sunflowers because the seed planted in the ground. So my solution to that is to leave them alone, let them come and go because the food that they put on the ground the birds still eat. There is still seeds in the feeder, the birds will get that, the squirrels are happy. And if you sit back and enjoy it, you will notice what a pleasure it is to see the squirrels and the birds mingling together in the trees and in the ground. And that in itself is a true enjoyment. So rather then try to keep them from getting in the bird feeder enjoy the benefits that they do by getting in there. And that big benefit is putting food on the ground for the ground feeding birds. Morning doves, in this part of the country are one of the ones that love to eat off of the ground. So you can feed the birds in both places and enjoy the squirrels at the same time.


About the Author


Bill Elzey is the owner and manager of Showplace Lawns in Austin, Texas. Elzey has a Bachelor of Science in agriculture with course work in horticulture, soils, fertilizers, botany and entomology. He has more than 32 years of experience landscaping in South Central Texas. Showplace Lawns has been making Central Texas lawns greener than ever since 1992.