There are LOTS of bird feeders that claim to be squirrel proof.
It’s an effective marketing term because companies know it’s something everyone wants to hear.
But finding a squirrel proof bird feeder that actually works is kind of hard.
Think about it:
The feeder has to allow birds to feed comfortably AND, at the same time, stop squirrels from eating.
But squirrels are incredibly smart, especially when it comes to eating from your bird feeders. They are patient, athletic, acrobatic, relentless, and also feature sharp teeth that can chew through almost anything.
As I said before:
It is incredibly difficult to find the best squirrel proof bird feeders!
After experimenting at my home, talking to other backyard birders, reading books, and doing my diligent research online, I am ready to release my list of the best squirrel proof bird feeders.
But first, I think it’s important to provide a bit of education. There are different ways that bird feeders use to keep squirrels off from eating.
Here are the 4 strategies you will see utilized by squirrel-proof bird feeders.
1. Weight Sensitive Perches:
The most popular method and extremely effective in my yard!
Almost all birds that come to your backyard are much lighter than squirrels. For example, Blue Jays weigh approximately 3 oz, and they are one of the larger birds that visit backyard feeders.
But the common Gray Squirrel weighs anywhere between 14 oz to 29 oz, which is more massive than basically all your common feeder birds.
- RELATED: The 10 Types of Squirrels That Live in the United States! (& Canada) – Learn about the squirrel species you see and battle in your backyard! Range maps included. 🙂
Many squirrel proof bird feeders take advantage of this enormous weight difference between birds and squirrels by featuring weight sensitive perches.
Typically, the perches are attached to a spring on the feeder. Once a certain amount of weight is put on the perches, then a door or wall is activated and will come down and close off access to the bird food. (View feeder #1 below for a video demonstration.)
Birds can land and eat until their bellies are full, but as soon as a squirrel puts their greedy paws onto the bird feeder, access to the food is closed off!
Buying a bird feeder that is surrounded by a cage is almost 100% guaranteed to keep squirrels away!
Here’s how it works:
The openings in the cage are large enough for small birds but too tiny for squirrels to fit their bodies through.
The biggest downside to cages is that they also prevent larger birds from feeding. Only smaller backyard birds will be able to fit, like goldfinches, sparrows, and chickadees.
And cages are also useful for keeping blackbirds away!
3. Battery Powered Feeders That Spin:
This style gets my vote for the most entertaining squirrel proof bird feeders!
When a squirrel jumps onto the feeder, the internal motor is activated by the rodent’s weight, and immediately starts spinning!
Squirrels will try their best to hang on as long as possible, but eventually, they will lose and get flung off.
This below video demonstrates the concept of a spinning squirrel proof feeder. Every time I watch, I can’t help but smile.
The biggest negative with this type of feeder is the fact you have to change the batteries periodically.
4. Electric Shock:
These are similar to the squirrel proof feeders that spin above, except with one notable difference.
You will not see any squirrel proof feeders that utilize electric shock in my list below. The reason for this is because I have not tested, talked to anyone, or read enough positive reviews to be convinced a specific model deserved to be included. If this changes, then I will add one to the list!
The 6 Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
The Absolute II is one of my favorite bird feeders and the center of my backyard feeding station.
How does it prevent squirrels?
The perches are weight-sensitive and close if a squirrel climbs on the feeder. It’s also made of steel so they can’t chew their way inside.
Here’s a video showing how the weight-sensitive perches work:
*You can typically see this squirrel-proof feeder on my bird feeders camera! – Watch LIVE here*
Here are some other reasons I recommend the Absolute II.
- This large hopper bird feeder is where I put my general bird seed mix (sunflower, peanut pieces, safflower, and white millet) that is designed to attract as many species as possible. I love that it holds up to 12 pounds of bird food!
- It is simple to refill and clean. The top lid unlatches easily to open.
- The seed is protected from the rain. I have no problems with seed spoilage due to moisture or dampness.
- The perches are adjustable to different weight sensitivities, which allows you to also prevent large and medium-sized birds (like blackbirds!) from eating.
The Yankee Flipper gets my vote for the most fun squirrel proof bird feeder!
How does it prevent squirrels?
It spins them off when activated! When enough weight is put on the perches, the internal, battery-powered motor comes alive and gently tosses the squirrels from the feeder. Don’t worry; birds are light enough to feed and not set off the motor.
Since the tube is 21 inches in length, it’s long enough that squirrels can’t hang down from the top to eat without activating the feeder and making it spin. I also like that it also holds up to 5 pounds of bird food, so you shouldn’t have to refill every day.
The biggest complaint with the Yankee Flipper is the constant need to recharge and eventually replace the battery every few years.
Droll Yankee’s also offers a Lifetime Warranty on any parts that were damaged by squirrels and a 1-year warranty on the electronic components for the Yankee Flipper.
One look at this bird feeder, and you know how it prevents squirrels!
The squares in the cage measure 1.5 in x 1.5 in, which is much too small for squirrels to fit through, except maybe an occasional juvenile. It lets most songbirds through, and your birds should not have much trouble getting used to flying through the new metal cage.
FYI, this feeder is also going to stop Blue Jays, doves, grackles, and all but the smallest starlings from eating.
This specific feeder from Audubon holds about 1.25 lbs of bird food.
In the world of squirrel-proof bird feeders, Brome is one of the most popular and trusted brands out there. Their specialty is stopping squirrels, and basically, every style of feeder they offer does not allow these rodents to eat!
It was hard to narrow down the best Brome squirrel proof feeders because they are all great for their intended purpose, which is keeping squirrels off your bird feeder.
Once you see how Brome products work, it’s easy to see why squirrels can’t eat. The weight of a squirrel anywhere on the feeder body closes access to the seed ports.
The reason I chose the Squirrel Buster Standard is simple. It works as advertised, and I have owned it for a few years and have never once seen a squirrel eating on it.
Here is what I don’t like:
The Squirrel Buster Standard is one of the best squirrel-proof bird feeders, but its dedication to preventing squirrels comes at a cost.
It’s sort of a pain to refill.
To accomplish, I have to take apart the top to get access to the tube, typically putting the parts on the grass as I am refilling (see photo above). Winter is when I notice the extra effort the most because I have to take my gloves off. My hands get cold, and I am always afraid I am going to lose a part in the snow.
The Squirrel Solution is another fantastic squirrel proof feeder made by Brome. As discussed in feeder #4 above, they are one of the industry leaders in squirrel prevention.
Personally, I like the appearance of this feeder and the fact it holds up to 3.4 pounds of bird food.
As with all products from Brome, it features their limited lifetime guarantee against defective parts or squirrel damage. Call them, and they will send out a replacement piece.
Wild Birds Unlimited is one of my favorite stores. They always feature quality products, fresh bird food, and the staff is knowledgeable and accommodating.
So it’s not surprising that their squirrel proof bird feeder is one of the best available, designed and perfected over the years by their founder, Jim Carpenter.
It’s weight-sensitive, allowing birds to feed but instantly closes with the weight of a squirrel. It features six seed ports, holds 3.5 quarts of seed, and has one continuous perch around the entire base.
Here’s a great video of the Eliminator in action!
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders Will Save You Money
If you hadn’t noticed, the best squirrel proof feeders above are not the cheapest. It’s true; you are going to pay more money to make sure these ravenous rodents can’t access your bird food.
That’s why buying a squirrel proof bird feeder is truly an investment.
I’m not sure exactly how much food a squirrel eats per day, as it varies between different species, but I do know that it is way more than your typical bird. If these voracious furballs get full access to your feeders, they are going to consume A LOT of pricey bird food. After a while, this puts a serious dent in your wallet.
Purchasing an effective squirrel proof bird feeder will actually save you money by not allowing squirrels to eat and waste half of your food.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
As you can tell, I am a big believer in purchasing a squirrel-proof bird feeder, and this list of the best should give you a great start finding the perfect addition to your backyard.
But squirrels are a worthy opponent. They are not defeated easily, and they are not going to let their free and easy food get taken away without a fight!
In my backyard, I combine squirrel proof bird feeders along with a few other strategies that prevent squirrels. Having multiple approaches seems to work best when trying to defeat these relentless and determined mammals.
Before you go, can you help make this article better and answer these questions?
What squirrel-resistant bird feeders do you recommend?
Which type of squirrel proof feeder works best for you?
- (weight-sensitive perches, cages, spinning feeders, or electrical shock)
Thanks for reading, and good luck!