What Can I Do to Keep Squirrels Off of My Birdfeeders?

A Question of the Week

Eastern Grey Squirrel

There is no question that 2018 has been a bumper year for squirrels. With populations so high, squirrels have become a nuisance around many homes, taking up residence inside of buildings or raiding bird feeders. Although some people enjoy feeding and watching squirrels, many others are more focused on attracting birds to their yards and gardens. When squirrels gain access to bird feeders, they not only eat expensive bird seed but also often chew and damage them. Perhaps most importantly, they tend to keep all but the boldest of birds from visiting.

Preventing Squirrels From Getting Into Feeders

Once squirrels discover bird feeders it is very difficult to keep them away. Rather than concentrating on getting rid of nuisance squirrels, a better option is to prevent them from getting into feeders. A good place to start is making sure your feeders are positioned at least ten feet away from jumping spots such as the house, fences or trees. From there, you may want to purchase and install a baffle, which is a bowl shaped metal or plastic barrier that will prevent squirrels from reaching bird seed. Baffles come in a wide variety of designs, and which will work best for you depends on your bird feeders. Tilting or large dome shaped baffles are best for feeders that are suspended from tree branches, and pole mounted baffles work like a charm for feeders on posts. Avoid greasing poles to keep squirrels from climbing as grease can mat down fur and leave animals more exposed to freezing temperatures.

Purchasing Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Another option is to purchase squirrel-proof bird feeders. These feeders are often made of durable metal and include at least one feature that blocks squirrels from gaining access to seed. Just keep in mind that hungry squirrels can be incredibly determined and may eventually figure out a way to reach the seed anyways.

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Emma Erler
Landscape and Greenhouse Field Specialist
Instructor Field Specialist
Phone: 603-641-6060
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824

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Master Gardeners & Extension Specialists
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