How Squirrels Damage Bird Feeders

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Feeding birds can be very rewarding if you are a keen birdwatcher. It can also be extremely irritating if you haven’t got a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

To avoid losing seed to furry diners check out the best squirrel-proof bird feeders. Buying a specialized feeder is the best possible way of keeping squirrels from taking cheeky advantage of your bird buffet and the birds don’t go hungry.

Squirrels and Feeders

The best birdseed, including nuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and suet, are as attractive to squirrels as they are to the birds. However, unlike birds who are usually happy to share their feeders with other types of visitors, squirrels have a habit of scaring and chasing away birds.

They also may stay at the same feeder until they have emptied it. They tend to consume seeds rapidly and don’t give birds any chance to get a bite.

When they are hungry squirrels have been known to chew their way and claw through wooden and plastic feeders. So you have to be sure that you have chosen your squirrel-proof feeder wisely.

Remember, squirrels are also predators and have been found to eat a bird’s eggs and kill newly hatched chicks. If you want to make your yard squirrel-friendly it will be more attractive to nesting birds.

Tips to Squirrel-Proof a Feeder

As well as the squirrel-proof feeder it’s worth finding other ways to deter even the cleverest squirrels.

Choose the location of your feeder wisely. Squirrels are capable of jumping distances of at least 10 feet, so the feeder should be placed away from wires, trees, porches, roofs, gutters, and other launch pads.

Try to hang or mount your feeder on a metal pole that is about six feet high and smooth, and prune any bushes or branches that are within a radius of 12-foot.

Try protecting the feeder with a wire cage.  Squirrels are not able to fit through small wire openings, even ones that allow smaller birds to carry on feeding.  Some feeders are equipped with cages. Otherwise, it’s not difficult to add mesh like chicken wire to an existing feeder.

Make sure the area around your feeder is kept clean. Regularly remove any debris or spilled seed from the ground to make sure you are not attracting any squirrels.  

By hanging your feeder from a thin wire that is strung with spinners will help keep squirrels from climbing. Spinners may be as simple as a line of thread spools, or they could be short lengths of pipe and hose.

When you are replacing any feeders that the squirrels have destroyed, choose a specially designed feeder that has doors or a hatch triggered to close by the weight of a squirrel. This will both restrict a squirrel’s access to the seed, but still, allow lighter birds to feed freely. You could also choose a metal feeder or another design that is made of sturdy materials that a squirrel will be less capable of damaging.

When you select the seed for the feeder, bear in mind that although squirrels will hungrily sample most birdseed, they are much less attracted to safflower seed which has a slightly bitter taste.  

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