How to Choose a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Perky Pet® knows how frustrating it can be when squirrels raid your bird feeders. Not only do squirrels pilfer birdseed and make a mess, but they also chase beautiful birds away. That is why we offer a wide range of anti squirrel bird feeders, and are constantly innovating and providing new ways to defend against these pests.
Here are some common questions asked by visitors shopping for bird feeders that will deter or keep out squirrels:
What is the difference between a squirrel proof or squirrel resistant feeder?
Squirrel Resistance indicates a certain level of difficulty squirrels will have trying to access the seed in these feeders. They are not able to keep all squirrels out. Squirrel Proof is a higher-quality designation implying that the feeder should keep all squirrels out. Since this is a very difficult thing to guarantee, the best “squirrel proof” feeders will also come with a replacement warranty, should they fail to keep squirrels out at some point.
What are the benefits of squirrel proof feeders?
Squirrel proof and squirrel resistant bird feeders prevent squirrels from eating your birdseed, so you do not have to refill as often, and you have less seed-waste, which saves money and frustration, and keeps the birds you want at your feeders. Some of these feeders keep squirrels off, allowing more birds to perch and feed.
Which types of birds do you wish to attract to your squirrel proof bird feeder?
This is an important question, because different bird feeders are designed to attract and cater to different types of birds. Start by looking for a squirrel proof/resistant bird feeder that holds and dispenses the type of seed preferred by your desired birds. Also keep in mind the number of perches the feeder has – a greater number of perching locations will accommodate a greater quantity of birds for your viewing pleasure.
What is the seed capacity of the feeder?
The amount of bird seed your feeder holds will help determine how often you will need to refill it. If you expect your bird traffic to be high, then it is recommended to get a feeder that holds more seed, so you can refill it less often. If you aren’t sure, start out with a low-capacity feeder and graduate to a larger one as needed. One benefit of squirrel proof bird seed feeders is the ability to conserve birdseed that squirrels would otherwise steal.
Where do you want to place the feeder?
It’s important to know where you want to locate your feeder so that you can choose one that is equipped with the proper hardware for that particular area. For example, if you know you want to place your feeder in an open area - away from trees, roofs or any other type of squirrel launch pad - you’ll want to be sure to get a feeder that’s supported by a pole or shepherd’s hook (see pole-mounted feeders). When selecting a location for your feeder, the most important factor is visibility: where in your yard can you position the feeder so that you can easily observe the visiting birds?
What other features does the squirrel proof feeder offer?
In addition to being squirrel proof, there are several additional features you might consider when shopping for this type of feeder. For example, you might select a bird feeder that has a tray underneath, which catches seed and shells to keep your yard clean and to conserve birdseed. Some squirrel proof feeders have additional clear plastic covers that keep birds dry as they feed. If you are interested in enhancing the beauty of your yard, look for a decorative feeder with an attractive design and squirrel proof features.
What are the Types of Squirrel Proof/Resistant Feeders?
There are several different features that make up the many squirrel proof and squirrel resistant wild bird feeders on the market. Some feeders are weight-activated, closing their feeding ports and/or collapsing their perches under the weight of a squirrel. Some have built-in squirrel proof baffles that throw squirrels off balance when they jump onto them. Others might be enclosed in squirrel-resistant cages that allow small birds in but keep squirrels out.
Weight-activated feeders are some of the most efficient types of squirrel proof bird feeders, because they allow birds to freely perch and feed, but collapse or close under the slightly heavier weight of a squirrel. There are a few weight-activated features to choose from:
Weight-Activated Perch Bar: When a squirrel lands on the perch bar, the bar depresses and the feeding ports close, making it impossible for squirrels to access the seed.
Weight-Activated Base: When a squirrel lands on the base, the feeder tips over and feeding ports close, so the squirrel cannot balance or feed.
Weight-Activated Cage: When a squirrel lands on any part of the feeder, the outer cage depresses, closing the feeding ports.
Collapsible Perch: When a squirrel lands on a perch to feed, it collapses from underneath the animal.
A baffle squirrel proof feeder has a simple built-in dome-shaped baffle on top that is used to throw these four-legged creatures off balance. When squirrels jump onto the top of the feeder, they land on the squirrel proof baffle and immediately lose their footing.
A caged feeder is a type of squirrel resistant bird feeder that has a chew-proof metal wire barrier that prevents squirrels from being able to reach the seed or feeding ports. The spacing between the wires is large enough to allow smaller songbirds to enter and feed but small enough to keep squirrels out.
Squirrels are known to chew through many common feeder materials, like plastic. To keep squirrels from chewing through them, some feeders are constructed entirely of metal, or have metal feeding ports. Although this is only a squirrel resistant feature, additional protection can be added with accessories like baffles and poles to make metal bird feeders squirrel proof.
What are the Different Squirrel Proof/Resistant Feeder Styles?
Like other types of bird feeders, squirrel proof feeders come in many different shapes, colors and designs. You might select one that blends into your yard or garden or a decorative one that stands out as a piece of art.
Tube feeders are easy to clean and refill, and their cylindrical shape makes it more difficult for squirrels to access the seed. And because they have perches on all sides, you can view birds from almost any angle.
Squirrel proof platform feeders have metal bases covered by wire grates that prohibit squirrels from getting to the seed. Some offer built-in baffles for even more protection.
Hopper, or house, feeders may be squirrel proof if they have collapsible perches, which block off the seed under the weight of a squirrel.
Pole Mounted Feeders
Pole mounted feeders can be placed almost anywhere, which makes it easy to keep your feeder away from trees, roofs, fences, or any other type of platform that give squirrels easy access. Just make sure the feeder sits at least 6 feet high and 10 feet away from trees or structures to prevent squirrels from reaching it.
Are there Other Ways to Squirrel Proof My Feeder?
In addition to bird feeders that are squirrel proof by design, there are other accessories and squirrel proofing techniques can be used to reinforce your defense against squirrels, or to make your ordinary birdfeeders squirrel proof:
Squirrel Baffles (for Feeders) Add a squirrel proof baffle to any kind of bird feeder to keep squirrels off. Squirrels simply cannot balance on a dome-shaped baffle, so placing one on top of a feeder is sure to prevent squirrels from successfully landing on your feeder.
Pole Baffles Add a squirrel proof pole baffle below your pole-mounted feeder as added protection to block squirrels from climbing up to access the seed.
Squirrel Resistant Bird Seed Although squirrels love common bird seeds, such as black oil sunflower seed or corn, there are a few types of bird seed that squirrels, usually, don’t like to eat:
Safflower Seeds Attract birds like cardinals, chickadees and titmice, but have a bitterness that squirrels usually don't like
Niger (Thistle) Seed This seed attracts a variety of finches, but squirrels appear to leave this seed alone, most of the time
Hot Pepper in Bird Food Adding some hot pepper is another great way to keep squirrels away. Birds are not affected by the spicy flavor, but squirrels detest it and will usually avoid the peppered seeds.
Squirrel Repellents Another way to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder is to apply an effective squirrel repellent. A hot spray that contains capsaicin is the best type of squirrel deterrent for bird feeders, because squirrels are sensitive to the scent and taste. Just spray directly onto the feeder, and it will keep squirrels away without affecting the birds.