How to Make a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Have you ever wondered how to keep squirrels out of your backyard bird feeder? A squirrel proof bird feeder is a great way to feed your backyard friends while keeping gray-furred invaders at bay.

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Options
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to protect your bird feeder from pesky squirrels. Here are several options:

  • Who you calling "chicken"? One way to keep squirrels away from your feeder is to cover it with a loose cage of 1-1/2" to 2" poultry wire. The wire mesh will be big enough for most songbirds to get through but will be too small to allow squirrels to pass. Make sure there is enough room on the inside of the cage for birds to move freely.
  • The cone of silence. If your bird feeder is pole mounted, a plastic or metal shield can keep squirrels away. Formed into a flat cone, the shield should be at least two feet in diameter and at least six feet off the ground to be effective. If you're not handy, commercial pole barriers are available at most larger home centers.
  • Be flexible. If you're building your own bird feeder, consider using a stiff, but flexible material for the perches. Plastic cable ties (also known as tie wraps) make perches that will hold the weight of a small bird, but will not support the weight of a squirrel. Using these ties as perches will allow birds to feed, but will dump squirrels to the ground. Make sure your feeder is designed without any other projections or grip-able surfaces.
  • Twist and shout. If you're using a hanging bird feeder, consider using a horizontal wire strung between two supports. On either side of the feeder, string three empty 1-liter bottles with a hole punched through the bottom. The bottles will spin freely on the support wire and if a squirrel tries to climb across, he will spin off and fall to the ground. Make sure the feeder is at least six feet above the ground and far enough away from the side supports to limit jumping opportunities.
  • Spice things up. As it turns out, birds are immune to capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers spicy. Grind or crush dried peppers into your seed before you place it into the feeder. Squirrels that get a taste of this seed mix won't come back for more, but the birds won't notice a difference.
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