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How To Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders

Predator Guard on top of wood fence
Learn how to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders safely and humanely.
Predator Guard squirrel climbing on tree trunk

Setting out bird feeders starts out innocently enough. You figure you'll get to provide food for some of the beautiful birds in your area and brighten your mornings by gazing at them as they fly around your yard.

But then it happens - The squirrels take notice of your generous offering of seeds and nuts and assume you're leaving delicious snacks out just for them.

The first time or two it might not bother you too much. But the more the squirrels make themselves at home, the less the birds come around. 

There are several things you can do to keep squirrels out of bird feeders safely and humanely. There's no need to set out traps or chase them away constantly. Remember, the seeds and nuts in birdfeed is extremely inviting, and the squirrels are just doing what any animal would.

You don't have to give up on your dream of having a variety of gorgeous birds in your backyard. Let's take a look at seven ways you can keep the squirrels out of birdfeeders
7 Ways To Keep Squirrels Out of Birdfeeders
1. Move Your Birdfeeders To A Different Location

Predator Guard squirrel drinking water from bird feeder

It's important to take into consideration where your birdfeeders are located. Some areas you should avoid include under or near trees, walls, fences, or anything else that squirrels can climb. 

The average squirrel can jump about 4 feet straight up in the air, between 8 to 10 feet sideways, and even further when jumping down from above.

Taking this into consideration, you should try to elevate your birdfeeder over 4 feet high and 10 feet away from anything the squirrel can climb

2. Try A Different Bird Feed

Predator Guard birds eating from bird feeder

If moving your bird feeders is not a possibility, you can always try using a different bird feed. As you know, squirrels love nuts, sunflower seeds, fruit, and corn.

But squirrels are not fans of safflower seeds, nyjer (thistle) seeds, or white proso millet.

Birds have no problem with these seeds, so it could be a win-win. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work, and if there are still yummy treats in the mix, squirrels could continue sifting through for the seeds they want. It's certainly worth a try. 

3. Add A Baffle To Keep Squirrels Away
Predator Guard squirrel climbing on a pole with a baffle

Adding a baffle to the pole or chain of your bird feeder ensures that squirrels can't get to the feed. They can be installed underneath the feeder, if it's on a pole, or above, if it's hanging from a chain or wire. 

Our Squirrel Guard Baffle is made out of black coated powder steel, and it's slippery no-grip surface defeats even the most persistent squirrel. 

4. Use Hot Peppers To Deter The Squirrels

Predator Guard pepper flakes

You can also try mixing in some spices, such as cayenne pepper or flakes into your birdfeed. Capsaicin is the compound that makes hot peppers hot, and while birds do have capsaicin receptors, they've adapted to be able to eat spicy peppers with ease. This means your birds are not able to taste the spiciness, but the squirrels will, and they do not like it at all. 

Use about a quarter cup of cayenne pepper for 10 pounds of seed. The spices can wash and blow away, so it must be applied consistently in order for it to be effective. 

5. Provide A Separate Feeding Tray

Predator Guard squirrel eating peanuts from wooden feeder

Providing a feeding area specifically for the squirrels might deter them from getting into the birdfeeders, especially if you add their favorite snacks. They won't be tempted to go out of their way to climb trees and shimmy their way down to a birdfeeder if they have something that is easily accessible. 

6. Get A Dog 

Predator Guard close up of dog smiling with mouth wide open

Having a dog, specifically a larger breed can help keep squirrels out of your yard. Many people see success with this "method". This can work well not only for squirrels, but for rabbits and even deer.

Unfortunately, many squirrels will come back as soon as your dog comes inside, but hey - do you really need an excuse to get a furry best friend?

7. Choose A Different Post or Feeder

Predator Guard two squirrels trying to get to metal feeder

When all else fails you can try setting up a different feeder or using a different post.

There are special birdfeeders with cages that keep squirrels from reaching the feed, and there are even feeders that close shut when too much weight is put on them.

These options might not be practical depending on the types of birds you're trying to attract, so you'll need to do a little more research first. 

Here's what you should NOT do:
1. Glue Traps

Glue traps are dangerous and often don't even work on squirrels. They can cause serious injuries not only to the squirrels, but to birds and other small animals as well.

2. Hunting

In most areas, shooting squirrels is illegal, not to mention dangerous. It's easy to hurt other nearby animals, even with slingshots and BB guns. 

3. Poison

Setting out poisoned seed is not a smart idea, and can have a very negative, large impact on many animals in your area. There is no way to control which animals munch on the poison. It could result in dead birds, cats, or anyone that gets into the poisoned seed.

4. Grease

I'm sure you've seen that viral video of the lady who added grease to the pole of her birdfeeder, making it so slippery that the squirrel couldn't climb. Yeah, don't do that! It can coat the fur and feathers of animals, causing illness and vulnerability. 

How have you successfully kept squirrels out of birdfeeders? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
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Predator Guard on top of wood fence and birds on bird feeder