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Thread: Squirrels and bird feeders

  1. #1
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    Squirrels and bird feeders

    Well, it finally happened... the squirrels found my bird feeder. Not only that, they are so kind as to poop on my deck on the way to and fro! :mad:

    So, is there any such thing as a truly "squirrel-proof" bird feeder? Other tips to keep the squirrels out of my bird seed? Or should I just get a BB gun and keep it next to the back door like my MIL does?

  2. #2
    Hiya Kathryn,

    I've tried the chili powder method. I've tried the baffle. I've tried the goo on the post that the bird feeder is perched upon. Somehow, those wiley creatures find their way to the bird seed. I wouldn't mind it so much if they would all just eat together, but the squirrels chase the birds off their feeders. :mad:

    I've repeatedly asked for a BB Gun for a gift, but I think that made Jim nervous for the neighbors......

    I don't know if there's anything we can do, but I'm certainly willing to entertain any and all suggestions!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    I have a long, tube-type bird feeder. My local bird feeding store sold me a cage that slips over it that allows birds through, but the squirrels can't get in. It's wonderful. I've seen the squirrel sitting on top of it, climbing down it, trying to get in from the bottom. He finally settles for the seed that's dropped on the ground underneath, which is fine with me. The store I got it from is called Wild Birds Unlimited; I know they have them all over.

  4. #4
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    Would it work to give the squirrels their own feeder so they leave the birds alone? I hate that too. My problem right now is bunnies in my yard eating my grass. DH has been chasing them off with a super soaker, but I am not convinced it is a good long term solution. Though it is fun to get DH with the super soaker.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I bought a beautiful wood birdfeeder recently that was the shape of a wishing well and the bird feed sat in the "well" part. Well, I had it up for a total of 2 days before an extremely aggressive squirel found it and destroyed part of the wood. It was completely ruined. I'm giving up on birdfeeders, at least for now!
    Write your hurts in sand, carve your blessings in stone.

  6. #6
    I have a Droll Yankee feeder that is a cylindar (6" or so in diameter) and has a battery-powered perch around the bottom. Birds are not heavy enough to start the spinning motion of the perch, but squirrels are!! They spin right off to the ground in a daze. It's funny to watch--but actually the construction of it deters the squirrels b/c it's too big around and the feeding holes are all at the bottom, so they mostly slide off before they reach the feeding holes and the perch. Most of the time the spinning perch does not even come into play. If you can find one constructed like that--and it's away from trees, you should not have much trouble.

    I love the idea of the cage to go over a smaller tubular feeder--I'm going to check into that so I can use some I have that I'd given up on b/c of the squirrels.

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

    crazyquilter - I've seen those cage contraptions at the local bird store, and my feeder is one of the long tube-shaped ones, so that just might work. I'll check it out this weekend.

    sharris - that Droll Yankee feeder sounds like it might be worth the money just for entertainment purposes! I'll keep my eyes open for one of those.

    If all else fails, I guess I'll be putting that BB gun on my Christmas list!

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Squirrels get into my birdfeeder too, but I like squirrels too. If they're there too long, I'll chase them away. One day, a squirrel was actually sleeping in the feeder . . . that was too piggy for me, so I ran him off!

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Originally posted by SandyM

    I've repeatedly asked for a BB Gun for a gift, but I think that made Jim nervous for the neighbors......
    Why?? Is he afraid that you will be a hormonal loose cannon??
    Life is all about a$$; you're either covering it, laughing it off, kicking it, kissing it, busting it, trying to get a piece of it, behaving like one, or you live with one.

    Maxine

  10. #10
    Originally posted by Wendy w


    Why?? Is he afraid that you will be a hormonal loose cannon??
    Nah. My aim isn't so great, though!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Arizona
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    The squirrels are really hitting us hard this season! I guess with the drought, the wildlife has moved in!

    Not only do we have squirrels grazing on our birdseed, but the squirrels are munching on all my geraniums. They're also just pulling them out of the containers and sucking on them like dental floss/and or straws. A neighbor said they're trying to get moisture! We have watering containers and birdbath's all around.

    I need some sort of a natural repellent for these squirrels. I've tried to relocate the geraniums, but this hasn't helped. The squirrels are everywhere at any given time!

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    I have geraniums, and I have never seen a squirrel nibbling on one or any damage on them. Never would have thought it either, but guess they go for what they can.

    We have a number of feeders in the backyard and a peanut feeder in the front trees. We have kept one feeder squirrel proof -- at least until we moved the play structure. A couple of the young, athletic types can now jump onto it from the top of the swings or the willow tree above it. Another cost of having the house on the market.

    The one we have kept squirrel proof is a Wild Birds Unlimited one -- a large barn shape with suet baskets on either end. We have it on a pole with one of the large, black metal cylinder baffles on the pole about a foot down from the bottom of the feeder. As long as this is about 10 feet away from a fence or play structure, the squrrels were too far away to jump on top of it -- the only way they can get to the food. We also have a couple of birdbaths as well as a pond behind our house, so they can always get a drink.

    I would suggest going to Wild Birds if there is a store in your area. They were very helpful when we moved here and had to figure things out. Their products are well designed (i.e., easily filled and cleaned), hold up well and many carry warranties. And if you decide to give the squirrels their own feeder, they carry those too.

    Good luck, and have fun.

    LaraW -- we discovered a cottontail taking up residence in our yard last week. He stripped a couple of flowers, but other than that has seemed to only go after the grass -- which grows like crazy here-- and a plant that I have yet to decide whether it is a weed or groundcover. I'm letting the rabbit decide for me now! Fortunately, I have only one, and I have decided to put out a little rabbit food to keep the entire menagerie happy. Think they will all follow us when we move?

  13. #13
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    I've heard of the feeder strung on a wire trick before, but I have also read that some squirrels just learn to walk the wire. I think the truly determined and athletic critters can rise to almost any challenge. At least I get a kick out of watching the one or two who practically fly between fence and feeder now. But I do prefer having one big feeder with no squirrels, mostly so they don't chase some of the birds away, but also for cost control!

  14. #14
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    I have the same feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited that Beth described. Those little critters can not reach the feeder and eat the leftovers on the ground. Wild Birds is a great place and I know that you will find something there. I wasted a lot of money buying cheap feeders at department stores and they either broke eventually, chewed up by the squirrels, taken over by the squirrels, etc. It pays to invest in a feeder that is made well and animal proof. Good Luck!
    A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat---Old New York Proverb

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him the entire weekend.---Zenna Schaffer


    Never eat more than you can lift.---Miss Piggy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    My FIL battled the squirrels in the bird feeder too. He finally put it in an area of the yard where there were no tree branches nearby. The squirrels would climb the tree and inch their way out to the end of the branch and then do this death defying fly towards the bird feeder. Sometimes they missed, sometimes they landed on it. But it is funny to see the lengths they will go to!

  16. #16
    The squirrels don't like safflower seed so that's what I use now. I now have trouble with the small gophers or squinnies.

  17. #17
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    Back to report on my trip to the local bird supply store . I was all set to buy a new squirrel-proof feeder, but the guy at the store highly recommended trying safflower seed before trashing my old feeder (gotta love it when they actually talk you out of spending money!). So I'm going to give that a try.

    sharris315 - DH got a big kick out of that Droll Yankee feeder with the battery-powered rotating perch . Thankfully the $100 price tag will put that further down on our list of options - the safflower seed was only $4.75 .

  18. #18
    I put a fake bird or two stuck in the ground under the feeder and the squinnies must not like them. So far so good. Also have a whirrlie bird nearby. Could that be helping? I still use the safflower seed tho.

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Safflower seeds never worked for me. Those dang squirrels will eat anything!
    A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat---Old New York Proverb

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him the entire weekend.---Zenna Schaffer


    Never eat more than you can lift.---Miss Piggy

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    Valley Forge, PA
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    I tried the Droll Yankee spin feeder. It works up to a point. You have to keep charging the battery of the spinner. I have been battling squirrels for many years and have really tried lots of different ones. DH has a good laugh at some of my convoluted attempts at outwitting them. If you have many or just a few persistant squirrels, the spin feeder's charge doesn't last too long. It's entertaining while it lasts, but it's a pain to bring it in so often for the overnite charge and I noticed that in winter, very cold weather affects the charger.

    As soon as I can find it, I will post an article from the Philadelphia inquirer. The author is an architect who seems to have devised a fool proof bird feeder. I haven't had the chance to send for the plans. I don't hate squirrels, just want to believe I am smarter than they are and want to have something only for the birds.

    I even saw the squirrels going after the hummingbird feeder liquid and that was when plenty of water in bird baths was available.

  21. #21
    The interesting thing about the Droll Yankee feeder is the design keeps the squirrels away--it's too big around and the feeding holes are too far away from the top for them to reach from the top. (This assumes that the squirrels have to "attack" from the top--can't jump over to the perch) Most cannot grip the cylinder and fall off before they make it to the spinning part! It would probably be good in an area where they can reach it from the sides instead of from the top--near a tree, maybe. But I agree that it would be a pain to re-charge often.

    I have looked for a feeder with holes only at the bottom of a large cylinder--but cannot find one. Has anybody seen one like this?

    Shar

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