Many a backyard birder has been driven batty in their attempt to keep squirrels out of their bird feeders. I thought some folks might find it interesting to see the five step approach I use that is highly effective.
Step 1: Buy A Feeder
Buy a high quality squirrel proof bird feeder. While this is an obvious step it is also the step where most people stop. I have never seen a feeder that can stop a squirrel no matter how ingenious the device. I am using a Droll Yankee feeder in this set up.
Step 2: Hang the Feeder 18 Inches Away
Hang the feeder at least 18 inches from any surface where a squirrel can perch. I used a metal crook to hang this feeder 20 inches away from the trunk of the tree. By having the feeder at least 18 inches away from a perching surface the squirrels will not be able to access the seeds by simply stretching their bodies towards the feeder.
Step 3: Add a Baffle
There is a wobbly baffle mounted on top of the Droll Yankee feeder that keeps any squirrels off balance when they try to access the feeder from above. The baffle prevents the squirrels from getting comfortable and taking their time to figure out how to beat the feeder.
As soon as a squirrel lands on that baffle he has to act FAST…and usually that means jumping back onto the tree.
Step 4: Get Smart With Safflower
Safflower is a seed that cardinals LOVE but squirrels do not.
If a squirrel manages to get past the baffle and can hang from the bottom of the feeder long enough to grab some seeds then he is not going to be rewarded with a tasty treat. He is going to grab some safflower and think, “Really??”
Step 5: Give Them Better Options
I have hung up a squirrel feeder on the same tree that has my bird feeder and throw some cracked corn and peanut pieces into the tray.
Cracked corn is CHEAP and if a squirrel can get a tasty treat out of one feeder it has no reason to try to get the safflower out of another feeder.
The nice thing about the cracked corn in the squirrel feeder is that it also attracts Jays and woodpeckers. The spilled corn is also appreciated by the cardinals.
If you are serious about keeping squirrels out of your bird feeders then these steps will help you out. You need to do more than simply buy a squirrel proof feeder. You need to make the feeder hard to access, have it contain a food that they don’t like and provide a more palatable food source close by.