Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

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gatorman
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Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by gatorman » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:30 pm

So my wife bought a bird feeder. She put it up on the edge of our front porch, but no birds were using it. So, she moved it to a small tree at the edge of our yard. After a few days she told me, "the birds must really like that location, almost all the seed is gone." The next day as I was entering the house after work, I looked at the feeder and there was a squirrel sitting on the perch eating the bird seed. I told her. She bought a pole and moved the feeder to another location. The squirrels had no problem finding the new location and climbing the pole. As I am writing this they are finishing off another container of bird seed. I've googled squirrel proofing bird feeders, found a number of ideas, but I'd like some advice as to what works best before I spend money or exert any effort beyond typing. Your thoughts?
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frugaltype
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by frugaltype » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:38 pm

I have some flat heavy dishes on my deck (quite large glass pie plates, actually.) The birds, squirrels, foxes, groundhogs, skunks, opossums, raccoons all eat out of them. Two are filled with a bird seed mix, one with shelled, roasted unsalted peanuts. Most everybody likes the peanuts, except the mourning doves, whose beaks don't seem to be designed for them. The more colorful birds (cardinals, blue jays) seem to prefer the peanuts to the bird seed.

It takes critters awhile to find a new feeder.

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lmpmd
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by lmpmd » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:41 pm

http://amzn.to/ZCtqXM
http://amzn.to/12X34wu

Try a squirrel free bird feeder where the weight of the squirrel closes down the ports. Just type in squirrel free bird feeder into amazon.There's also seeds laced with hot pepper.

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bertilak
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by bertilak » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:47 pm

Just to let you know what you are up against!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... DrDO_fx5Vo
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by crow » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:51 pm

If you want a good laugh, take a paper towel with a liberal amount of solid Crisco on it and coat the pole. The little devils will jump onto the pole, but slide right back down. It's hysterical to watch. I've also used a "Twirl A Squirrel" bird feeder. When the weight of the squirrel hits the perch, it spins until they fall off. For all those thinking I'm being mean to squirrels, encouraging them to feed near your home can be problematic. They will chew through electrical wires, nest in attics, and can be a real pain to get rid of. My brother had all the wires on his pickup chewed through. My neighbor had his boat's electrical system destroyed by them. I recently paid over $1500.00 to have one removed from my attic and the access area repaired. They may be cute, but they are rodents and can do a lot of damage.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:52 pm

After much experimentation, I have a working squirrel-proof feeder at home. Here's your problem:
gatorman wrote:The squirrels had no problem finding the new location and climbing the pole.
Those standard iron poles are only an inch or so wide. You need to super-size it with 6" or larger diameter PVC pipe. Squirrels can't climb anything this wide, and PVC is too slippery to grasp.

You want something like this: Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. The key objectives:

- Place the feeder away from trees and high enough off the ground so critters cannot jump onto it. (At least 4 feet off the ground and 8 feet away from trees or buildings.)
- The post has to be covered with 4″ PVC plastic tubing. You must use at least 4″ tubing. (Mine is either 6" or 8" diameter (not sure) - the wider the better.)
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by jebmke » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:07 pm

We have used these for years. You can adjust them to frustrate the larger birds (grackles) as well.

http://www.heritagefarms.biz/birdfeeder ... 0450986280

edited to add link
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by jeffyscott » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:49 pm

I have one hanging from a tree branch by a wire that is about 10 feet long and the feeder is also too far from anything else for them to jump to it.

We also have two with nyjer/niger/"thistle" seed, which squirrels have no interest in...so that's the easiest solution.
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iceport
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by iceport » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:17 pm

We had good luck with this type of baffle: Woodlink Kay Home ProductS 14-Inch Wrap Around Squirrel Baffle Bird Seed...

...for a while.

The feeder was hung from a tall iron garden hanger -- the type many people hang plants from. The cone shaped baffle mounted 3' to 4' from the ground definitely kept the squirrels from climbing the pole. But they eventually learned how to launch themselves from a birch tree maybe 15 feet away and 10 feet higher than the feeder. Not all of them could perform this feat, though, so the seed lasted a while. Too far away from birch and the birds didn't feel protected enough.

One thing that was a bummer was that the birdseed blend we occasionally used started growing weeds in the lawn and pachysandra under the feeder.

The final straw was that it was attracting a black bear. The bear would snatch the feeder, lay on its back, and empty the feeder into its open mouth.

I miss watching the birds feed, but I don't put out feeders anymore.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by tomd37 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:22 pm

Gatorman,

I have been an active bird feeder for the past 29 years feeding all types of birds. The best squirrel-proof feeder I have used, and I currently have two in use year-round along with three other tube-type feeders, is the Homestead Super Stop-A-Squirrel feeder combined with with a large plastic dome such as the Aspects 182 18" Super Dome. Both products can be reviewed and purchased on Amazon.com.

One of the secrets for its use is that the combination must be mounted on a horizontal tree limb at least six feet above ground level and at least eight feet or more out from the trunk of the tree. Squirrels can jump a great distance out to a feeder from a tree. Another suggestion is that the Homestead feeder be mounted as close to the top inside of the dome as possible. I can literally spend hours watching many squirrels climb out on the horizontal limb, down the 15-inch leader to the dome, land on the dome and then proceed to slide off the dome and not be able to catch on to the Homestead feeder because of the width of the dome.

Another responder mentioned the round wire cages in which a tube type feeder is placed and the smaller birds land on the cage and slip inside it to get on to the tube feeder. I guarantee you that once the squirrels reach the cage they will learn that their weight swings the tube feeder to their side and they start eating the seed. I overcame this on my wire mesh peanut feeder by going to the local hardware store and buying two one and one-half inch springs with hooks on each end and attaching one end to the wire mesh peanut feeder and attaching the other end to the wire cage. Now when the squirrels land on the cage the feeder does not swing to that side and therefore the squirrels cannot get to the feeder and instantly lose interest in that feeder. Some regular plastic tube feeders do not have anything to which the one end of the spring can be connected to the feeder so if you use that type of feeder you will have to come up with some other solution.

I feed coarse hulled sunflower seeds in three feeders and one feeder with shelled peanuts year-round. Also in summer I have a hummingbird feeder which is replaced in winter with a nyjer seed feeder.
Tom D.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by red5 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:00 am

My folks have had success using one of those $0.98 plastic plant saucers you can buy at Lowes or Walmart. Probably a 10 inch would work. They attach it to the pole upside down and a bit underneath the bird food and this prevents the squirrel from getting to the food.


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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by likegarden » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:44 am

First place feeder away from deck railings and trees from which they can jump. At bird feeder supply stores you can buy poles with baffles. In the past I made it myself sticking a 4 inch diameter plastic pipe over a fencepost with a bucket placed upside down over the top of the fence post/pipe. Bucket rim had to be cut of or squirrels were hanging on the rim. Birdfeeder was on top of bucket. No problems ever.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Sam I Am » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:38 am

Message deleted.
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Yooper » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:06 am

Gotta say it. Years ago my father had this problem. Plain old wooden pole on the porch. Midway up the pole there was some wire wrapped around it. About an inch or so higher, and then another coil of wire wrapped around it. Connected to 110 volts. After two tries, no one squirrel ever attempted it again. Didn't hurt them, but sure caught their attention.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:21 pm

A tomcat generally does the trick.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by jebmke » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:29 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:A tomcat generally does the trick.
Not if you have owls in the neighborhood. A Great Horned Owl will take a cat easily.
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by wilpat » Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:43 pm

Bird seed is improperly named -- it should be called squirrel food (which is occasionally eaten by birds).
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by rkhusky » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:37 pm

LadyGeek wrote:After much experimentation, I have a working squirrel-proof feeder at home. Here's your problem:
gatorman wrote:The squirrels had no problem finding the new location and climbing the pole.
Those standard iron poles are only an inch or so wide. You need to super-size it with 6" or larger diameter PVC pipe. Squirrels can't climb anything this wide, and PVC is too slippery to grasp.

You want something like this: Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. The key objectives:

- Place the feeder away from trees and high enough off the ground so critters cannot jump onto it. (At least 4 feet off the ground and 8 feet away from trees or buildings.)
- The post has to be covered with 4″ PVC plastic tubing. You must use at least 4″ tubing. (Mine is either 6" or 8" diameter (not sure) - the wider the better.)
I know someone who did this with 6"+ metal tubing, and it works.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Sam I Am » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:58 pm

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by krmann » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:47 pm

I just read an article today dealing with this subject. I have not yet tried it - but it advocated spraying the top of the bird feeder with WD 40. Apparently they slide off when they jump on the top of the feeder. Kate :happy

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:13 pm

Please don't use WD-40. it's highly toxic to any animal that gets in contact with it. They'll try to clean it off their feathers (or fur), then bad things happen. :(

(Birds do indeed land on the top of bird feeders. I see them on the top of mine.)
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by gatorman » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:28 am

Thanks for all the ideas. My wife purchased a feeder having a large clear plastic dome, underneath of which is suspended a small tray to hold the seed. So far the squirrels have not been able to figure it out.
gatorman

rixer
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by rixer » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:17 am

There's one thing I learned in life.

You can't outsmart the squirrel.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Riverstwo » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:12 am

This is the best bird feeder I've come across. Absolutely squirrel proof. Has Stood the Test of Time.

Mechanically sound. Even Grackles / big black birds don't chew up all your seed. It attracts smaller birds, songbirds.

https://www.rollerfeeder.com/_vti_bin/s ... wtobuy.htm

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Batousai » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:16 pm

rixer wrote:There's one thing I learned in life.

You can't outsmart the squirrel.
This. There are no squirrel proof, bird feeders; only squirrel resistance, squirrel feeders.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by gatorman » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:35 pm

Riverstwo wrote:This is the best bird feeder I've come across. Absolutely squirrel proof. Has Stood the Test of Time.

Mechanically sound. Even Grackles / big black birds don't chew up all your seed. It attracts smaller birds, songbirds.

https://www.rollerfeeder.com/_vti_bin/s ... wtobuy.htm
That seems to be a pretty good design.
gatorman

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by bluelight » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:17 pm

I have one small feeder surrounded by a wire cage, something like this one http://www.bird-house-bath.com/d/Cage-M ... stant.html. The other feeder I only use Safflower seed. Squirrels don't like safflower seed so they leave the feeder alone. Each feeder is hung from a long wire from a tree branch, has a plastic baffle over it and is high enough off the ground that the squirrels don't jump up.

A bigger problem that I have is house sparrows. They will empty a feeder just as quickly as a squirrel can and love all food. To keep them at bay I have a DIY version of a "magic halo" http://www.tmbstudios.com/proddetail.asp?prod=BIRDXSFMH made with thin wire and wire nuts. I finally have feeders where the song birds get the food and the pests leave the feeders alone.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by SSSS » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:08 am

Here's an alternate idea -- put a squirrel feeder at ground level, so it's easier to access than the bird feeder.

http://www.amazon.com/Accoutrements-Big ... 008C0OBCI/

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by LarryG » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:22 am

We use the Woodlink Audubon wrap around squirrel guard (Amazon) on our feeders and they are entirely squirrel proof. In the past I put lengths of stove pipe on poles and they also worked. It's important to place the feeders where the squirrels can't jump to them.
Larry

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CountryBoy
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by CountryBoy » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:58 pm

No such thing as squirrel proofing a bird feeder; you are wasting your time. As they said in the hardware store in answer to my question on the topic, the squirrels win because they have more time to think about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... DrDO_fx5Vo

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by jeffyscott » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:22 pm

What is possible, but not necessarily easy, is to make the feeder inaccessible to squirels.

The other possibility is to simply make the feed something they don't want to access.

I have had one like this for years, in a location that is easily accessible to squirels, but they have no interest in what the feeder contains:

Image
press on, regardless - John C. Bogle

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by 6miths » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:51 pm

I loved the tip about the two contact strips wired with 110V - this certainly had to come from the good old days. We used to have huge squirrel issues but all really due to red squirrels - turns out that the red squirrel is very dependent on spruce trees and when I took down the ratty 70 year old row of spruce trees beside the house our red squirrel problem disappeared. We still have the blacks and greys but they are pure amateurs compared to the reds. Most 'squirrel proof' feeders actually have a disclaimer in the fine print about red squirrels. It was interesting to see that the roller feeder made the particular claim that it was effective against them. It must be good. The entertainment value is very high - especially when one throws an energetic dog into the mix.
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by rocket » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:22 am

Look at Droll Yankee squirrel proof feeder. They are expensive but They work well.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by SSSS » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:29 pm

One thing I haven't seen mentioned: hot sauce (or any sort of very spicy sauce or powder) is supposed to work well. Birds can't taste it, but mammals can.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by chrisjul » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:44 pm

"I recently paid over $1500.00 to have one removed from my attic"

I will remove your next squirrel for $1,000 (and pay my own airfare).

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by SnapShots » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:04 pm

bertilak wrote:Just to let you know what you are up against!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... DrDO_fx5Vo
LOL!!!!!!! This video is right on the mark. There is no way to keep a squirrel out of a bird feeder. I've tried everything.

I now buy large bags of food and put it in flat dishes and feed every critter that's hungry. Birds, squirrels, crows; all hungry critters are welcomed. However, putting dishes out for all, does seem to keep the squirrels from climbing into the bird feeders.

Be careful putting dog food outside because coyotes may buddy up with your dog.
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by mchop » Mon May 05, 2014 11:14 am

+1 for the 4" PVC pipe solution as mentioned by Ladygeek.

After watching a squirrel happily feast on my bird food for the last couple weeks - the final straw was witnessing the little dude on Saturday get INSIDE the little house and sit on top of the grain silo and stuff his cheeks. I found reference to this PVC pipe solution on the Audubon web site and here and decided to give it a go. My feeders were previously suspended from nails on a tree.

I found a 8' steel pole and have the feeders suspended from the pole about 7' of the ground (and 8' from the nearest tree). I slid a 3' section of PVC pipe over the top of the steel pipe and its hanging with the top of the PVC pipe at about 6' off the ground.

I am not claiming overall victory (yet), but i am savoring this round and enjoying watching my foes obvious frustration.

'ding'...round 2.

I am always amazed at the vast amount of knowledge and experience to be found on this forum and the fact that it is so broad ranging and not limited to financial info.

Thanks.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Browser » Mon May 05, 2014 3:01 pm

Now that we've solved the bird feeder problem, how can you keep squirrels out of large plant containers sitting on the ground? We have a large wooden planter about 3 ft. diameter as well as smaller ones where flowers, plants, herbs are planted. The squirrels like digging in these and uprooting the plants. Guess they like the loose dirt, the plants, whatever. Can't figure if they are putting stuff in the dirt themselves or just trying to dig up the plants. What's the best way to discourage them?
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by CyberBob » Mon May 05, 2014 3:14 pm

I put on one of the tube-baffles and it seems to have foiled everything from raccoons on down. It's the tan-colored part and is open at the bottom but closed at the top so anybody that climbs the pole just dead-ends inside the tube. For larger critters, the tube is too slippery to hang on to and too big to reach around.

Also, since squirrels jump quite well, the feeder isn't within ten feet of a tree or anything else they could launch from.

Image

Bob

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by rec7 » Mon May 05, 2014 3:19 pm

Is it just me but I get a little laugh every time squirrels come up on this forum.

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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Sheepdog » Mon May 05, 2014 3:39 pm

rec7 wrote:Is it just me but I get a little laugh every time squirrels come up on this forum.
It's natural that squirrels come up in conversations here. Aren't we always talking about squirreling away our money?
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by Ice-9 » Mon May 05, 2014 3:47 pm


likegarden
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Re: Squirrel Proofing a Bird Feeder

Post by likegarden » Mon May 05, 2014 3:52 pm

Squirrels, oh, they insisted to get into my Havaheart trap and catch a ride. The only one left entertains us.
As I mentioned earlier, I also used a 4" pipe over a fence post, but some squirrels were able to run up that pipe, so I put a 4 gal pot upside down over the top of the pipe.
In respect to make flower pots squirrel proof, cover the pot surface with sharp gravel.

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