8 PROVEN Ways To Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders (2023)
It’s incredibly challenging to keep squirrels away from bird feeders!
I like squirrels and want them in my backyard. I enjoy watching them, and they are as much a part of nature as birds. But, I want to see my squirrels ON THE GROUND. Unfortunately, these ravenous rodents can quickly become a nuisance on bird feeders for many reasons, including their voracious appetite, feeder dominance, amazing athletic ability, and ability to chew through almost anything!
Do you see any squirrels on my feeders?
Below is a LIVE look at my bird feeding station. We have at least eight squirrels that commonly visit our backyard and periodically one of them can be observed on my bird feeders. Unfortunately, I violate Tip #2 below, and it’s relatively common to see a squirrel leap from the trees!
Below, you will learn EIGHT ways to keep squirrels off bird feeders!
And the best news is that NONE of the tips below hurt squirrels. I do not agree with or recommend any strategy that puts these small mammals in danger. As I said before, I want to feed the squirrels, just not from my bird feeders. 🙂
#1: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Pole
By installing a quality squirrel-proof bird feeder pole, you can eliminate most squirrel problems. It’s pretty simple. If squirrels can’t climb up to the bird feeders, then they are stuck eating the food that falls to the ground.
When it comes to squirrel-proof bird feeder poles, you have two options:
Option #1: Buy a pole that is manufactured to prevent squirrels.
For example, I used to own the Squirrel Stopper Pole, and not one single critter EVER got past the attached spring-loaded baffle. (Because of the high number of feeders I was using, I have since built a more heavy-duty bird feeder pole. 🙂 )
A squirrel baffle is merely a contraption that prevents squirrels (and other small mammals) from climbing up your bird feeder pole. Check out the spring-loaded baffle on the Squirrel Stopper pole below:
Compare Prices of the Squirrel Stopper Pole!
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Not only is this pole great at preventing squirrels from climbing up, but it holds up to eight bird feeders and looks “classy” in any backyard.
Option #2: Squirrel-proof your existing pole by attaching baffles.
If you like your current bird feeder pole and want to keep it, but it wasn’t designed to stop squirrels, I have great news! Squirrel baffles can be purchased separately (or made) and attached to your existing pole.
In general, there are two different styles/shapes of baffle you will encounter:
Torpedo Baffle Pictured Above (Also referred to as Stovepipe or Cone): Audubon Steel Squirrel Baffle
Wrap Around Baffle Pictured Above: Woodlink Squirrel Baffle
Both of these baffles are designed to attach below the bird feeder. As squirrels climb, they are not able to get around the baffle and therefore can’t eat your bird food! *Squirrels can jump vertically up to four feet high! Make sure to attach a squirrel baffle high enough on the pole that they can’t just jump over and on top of it.*
For everything you need to know about squirrel baffles, check out this article:
#2: Place Your Bird Feeders Wisely
Did you know that squirrels can jump as far as 10 feet horizontally? Don’t believe me?
Here is a video I created of squirrels jumping onto my bird feeding station!
Unfortunately, my bird feeding station will never be 100% squirrel-proof, and it’s because my feeders are too close to the trees you see in the above video. Because of this fact, I have to rely on the other strategies discussed in this post!
As you are deciding where to place bird feeders in your backyard, remember that they will be subject to an aerial assault from squirrels!
To prevent squirrels from making the jump, find a suitable area that is at least 10 feet away from any trees, tree branches, houses, decks, power lines, or anything else that they can climb to use as a launchpad. My feeding station is only about five feet away from the nearest trees, and the squirrels make that leap easily!
- 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. 🙂
It will probably be the most fun to place the feeders just a bit out of the squirrels’ reach. By doing this, you get to observe them TRY to make the jump but miss, which provides some entertainment. 🙂
#3: Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
If you are not able to stop squirrels from reaching your bird feeders, it may be time to turn your feeders into Fort Knox.
Luckily, there are bird feeders that allow birds to eat but cut off the food supply for squirrels. Some work great; some fail miserably.
Here are the THREE most popular styles used by squirrel-proof bird feeders:
Style #1: Weight Sensitive
Access to bird food is denied if there is too much weight on the perches of the feeder. Most birds are MUCH lighter than squirrels, and they can eat comfortably. But when a squirrel jumps on, typically a door closes, and they are not able to eat the food!
For example, here is a short video of the weight-sensitive perches in action on my Absolute II hopper feeder:
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Style #2: Cages
Audubon Squirrel-Proof Caged Tube Bird Feeder
Metal cages surround some feeders to stop squirrels. The openings in the enclosure are large enough for small birds to fly through but too tiny for squirrels to fit inside. Cages also work great to keep blackbirds off your feeders.
Style #3: Battery-Powered Feeders That Spin
These may be the most entertaining! When a squirrel climbs on the feeder, the motor kicks in to start spinning, which tosses them off. The biggest negative to this style is that you will have to charge and change the battery periodically.
For a list of my favorite squirrel-proof bird feeders with honest reviews, check out the following article:
#4: Offer foods that squirrels don’t like!
There may be locations you want to place your feeders that are almost impossible to keep squirrels away from, such as on a deck, window, or near a tree.
In this case, it may be necessary to be very selective about the foods you are going to offer. And here’s the good news:
Squirrels don’t eat everything!
Squirrels go crazy over nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, corn, and fruit. They love these foods! You can’t blame them for trying to get to your feeders. But can you believe there are a handful of foods that will attract lots of birds AND prevent squirrels at the same time?
Here are THREE foods you can use that squirrels don’t like:
Food #1: Safflower Seed
View $ - Amazon | View $ - Chewy
Cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and many finches love this small, white seed while squirrels don’t. Blackbirds (starlings and grackles) also don’t eat safflower seeds, which makes me think this may be a miracle food!
Food #2: Nyjer Seed
Goldfinches can’t get enough, but squirrels don’t bother with this tiny seed.
Food #3: White Proso Millet
I think it’s too small for squirrels to mess with, but doves, juncos, and sparrows will undoubtedly be happy it’s available.
#5: Keep Squirrels Away With Hot Peppers!
When I first learned about the strategy of stopping squirrels with hot peppers, it sounded strange to me but made a lot of sense once I learned more.
Have you ever eaten a hot pepper? If so, you know that it can make your mouth a bit uncomfortable.
The “heat“ that you feel in your mouth after eating a hot pepper is caused by a compound called capsaicin. The reason we feel pain, discomfort, and burning after eating hot peppers is that capsaicin messes with specific nerve endings in our mouths.
Here is the exciting part:
Only mammals, like squirrels, are affected by capsaicin!
Birds can eat capsaicin all day long and feel no ill effects. So to take advantage, many bird foods add capsaicin as a powder coat, liquid coat, or as part of a suet mix to stop squirrels from eating.
Time and time again, it has been shown that capsaicin-treated bird food is one of the best squirrel repellants you can utilize. All it takes is one smell or taste, and they will start looking elsewhere. 🙂
But is it safe to feed birds capsaicin?
Products that contain capsaicin have been on the market for a long time now. There are no reports of any birders or ornithologists that have spoken about the adverse health consequences for birds.
Here is the capsaicin bird food that I have used before with great success:
Coles Hot Pepper Sunflower Seeds:
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#6: Feed squirrels at a separate feeder
This tip runs counter to almost everything else on this list. To prevent and deter squirrels from accessing and eating all of your food and scaring away birds, try feeding them at a separate feeder just for them!
For example, underneath my bird feeders, I have a tray that is always filled with sunflower seeds just for the squirrels!
Woodlink Tray Feeder: View Cost - Amazon
By providing an unlimited supply of food for squirrels in a separate feeder, you are hoping they won’t even bother going through all the extra work to reach your bird feeders.
This tip works well as a squirrel deterrent. I use this same strategy to help control House Sparrows too!
Make sure the feeder is in an easy spot for the squirrels to find and fill it with inexpensive food they love, like corn and sunflower seeds.
#7: Have Fun With Your Squirrels!
We have already established that squirrels will do about anything to reach bird food, and they are incredibly determined and acrobatic.
Knowing this, try having some fun and make them work hard for their meal!
There are numerous squirrel feeders designed with human entertainment in mind. One of my favorites is a large wheel that features cobs of corn on the ends. If the squirrels don’t balance themselves right, the wheel starts to spin around. The squirrels eventually get to eat, but it’s not easy!
Here is a spinning squirrel feeder in action:
Woodlink Squirrel-Go-Round Feeder View $ on Amazon
#8: Don’t Hurt Squirrels!
Unfortunately, out of frustration, many people have come up with ways to keep squirrels off their bird feeders that hurt or even kill them. I don’t agree with these methods.
There are too many effective strategies that work as squirrel deterrents AND keep squirrels safe. Remember that squirrels are just trying to survive themselves and doing what comes naturally to them!
So my final recommendation is to avoid anything that will injure squirrels. I know these pesky rodents can be overwhelming, but please resist any temptations to eliminate them permanently.
Try to appreciate squirrels as part of nature and remember they are just trying to survive like the birds that visit your feeders!
Here are some things to avoid:
Not only will you be sentencing the squirrels to a painful death, but what if your dog accidentally ingests some?
Glue or anything else sticky on your bird feeder pole:
It not only has to be incredibly painful to have their fur ripped out, but it’s almost impossible for squirrels to remove the glue. They may also ingest some as they try to groom themselves.
Petroleum jelly or grease on your bird feeder pole:
Similar to glue, this is incredibly difficult for squirrels to get off their coat. They might ingest some and get sick, or their fur will clump together, leaving them susceptible to cold weather.
There is nothing you can shoot at a squirrel that will not hurt it, except a camera.
Letting your cat outside to kill the squirrels:
Cats LOVE to prey on and kill birds. If you want to see more birds at your feeder and fewer squirrels, do you think letting your cat outside is a great idea?
Killing the squirrels in your backyard is a classic example of treating the symptom and not the problem. Squirrels breed quickly, so you can always expect more to arrive. Using a combination of the tips above will work much better as long-term solutions to your squirrel problems than murder.
By utilizing some of the tips listed above, it is entirely possible to repel, deter, and keep squirrels off your feeders and stop them from eating all of your bird food!
I have had the best luck combing tips #3, #4, and #5 together.
Most importantly, try to learn to appreciate squirrels and enjoy the challenges they provide.
Who knows, once you get the squirrels under control and off your bird feeders, you may end up enjoying their crazy antics. And just so you know, The Squirrel Lover’s Club is always looking for new members!
How do you stop squirrels from getting onto your bird feeders?
What are the best ways you have found to deter and repel squirrels?
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
We use a squirrel-proof feeder, and “hot” suet.
That is the trouble I am having with squirrels – I had a long feeder that was a tube with 3 holes/perches near the bottom. One day I was taking it down to refill it when I noticed the perches had been bitten and broken off (I saw the bits on the ground!) and most of the seed had gone (it had only been filled the day before so I knew the birds had not eaten it that fast! The squirrel would leap from the fence or a tree onto the top of the feeder, then hang upside down from the top and eat the seeds and destroy the perches for easier access! I have a new feeder now but I have just seen the squirrel doing the same thing again! I even put some fat balls into a different feeder hoping it would go for those and leave the seed alone — but no – so far it has ignored the fat balls and gone straight for the seeds! Driving me mad!
Place out of squirrel “jumping zones”. Because raccoons were also invading our primary feeder and after several unsuccessful attempts to to stop them, we invested in the biggest pole baffle we could find (at Wild Birds Unlimited) and it works like a charm!
Regarding the use of capascain … Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that while they cannot digest hot pepper and seem unaffected, may still burn their eyes (we don’t know for sure) and fallen seed will affect any pets you may have that root around under the birdfeeder. Our siberian husky loves to snack on birdseed. Other studies show that the birdseed covered in hot pepper are NOT DIGESTED and pass through their system unaffected, only to germinate somewhere in the yard. So, you may burn their eyes and they cannot digest the food.
What we DO know is that capacain is toxic to bees and other beneficial insects!! Using it may be damaging in some unanticipated ways. The humane society considered this cruel.
I have the green, weighted bird feeder that you show and love it! I’ve adjusted each side for lighter vs heavier birds. We attached a slinky to the bottom of our feeder and let it drop down the post holding the feeder up. They cannot get up the pole, , although the squirrels have sometimes jumped onto it from the nearby trees.
I live on the water in the outer banks, NC. I have bird feeders and hummingbird feeders I just put up in my yard. The squirrels get to them but there’s plenty for everyone. I love watching them!
Good info. Thanks.
Please don’t poison anything! There are other ways!
Scott I was wondering what kind of camera you use to watch the birds? I bought a trail cam but it doesn’t let me watch them live.
In my experience with safflower seed over a few decades now, I have found that has long they have another food source (peanuts, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, etc.) the vast majority of squirrels will shun the safflower seed. But if there is no other ‘easy’ food supply, some will eat – and a few even eventually develop a genuine taste for – safflower seed. That’s when the hot sauce and cayenne get mixed in with my safflower seed…
Squirrel proof feeders – the kind with cages – are also very helpful.
Chipmunks, on the other hand, will take all the safflower seed they can. And they don’t eat it, they cache it – they stuff their cheeks, scamper home, and come back for more. They will do this all day long, until the safflower seed is gone.
Fortunately, adding some garlic powder helps deter them. (I sometimes literally rub cloves of garlic on my deck railing to discourage the chipmunks.
(Oh – and jsyk, squirrel proof (caged) feeders are NOT raccoon proof lol! the adorable varmints have longer arms (front legs) and can actually reach in and take the seeds. So if there is any seed left in those feeders at the end of the day, I have to bring them in. )
I stocked up on 20 lbs of safflower seed expressly to deter the squirrels ( as well as purchasing the AbsoluteII squirrel proof feeder). Well, now it seems i run a squirrel farm! I’ve never seen so many squirrels. They are loving the safflower and have figured out how to hang from the roof of the feeder by one hind foot and scoop out the seed with their front paw without touching the perch. They also seem to spill the seed on the ground intentionally so they can eat it there too.
After numerous attempts at squirrel proofing my bird feeder, I ran a copper wire from my house to my garage. I ran the wire a little over 6 foot high. The weight of the feeder dropped it to 5 foot high. I made sure there was nothing the squirrels could jump from to get to the feeder. Seems to be working just fine
i don’t fully trust this article. my squirrels love safflower seeds. i haven’t tried everything yet but the more i try the more it costs with no success.
Get 4 ft of 3 inch drain pipe, half way along drill a hole the size of a bath plug, put the pipe against a wall or a run where they may be, use a brick to stop it rolling. Down thru the hole put strong poison, then put the plug in the hole. Check after 2 days to see if the bait has gone.keep baiting until they stop taking it
Squirrels will eat almost anything including nyjer and white millet. However they prefer sunflower seeds and peanuts. I’ve found it relatively easy to scare them into leaving a feeder with nyjer and white millet, but with sunflower seeds and peanuts they return after a few minutes.
I love peppers. I’m not Mexican. 😳
Well, so much for the suggestions given here. My TN squirrels must be part Mexican, as they seem to love any kind of pepper I add to the seeds and suet. They have also chewed through three different “squirrel proof” feeders, bending up the metal hole covers of the weighted type then chewing on the edge of the opening to make it bigger and hanging from the barn-style weighted ones. I had one of the cage tube feeders and the young and red squirrels were able to get into it. Later they figured out how to lift the top and chew the top edge of the feeder down to where the hanger was so it fell out. My house is on a hill so the front windows, where I watch the birds, sit too high for a pole to be practical so my feeders are hung from the porch roof. Baffles above and below the feeders do not deter them from jumping onto them. They also like the suet. I guess I’ll have to try the safflower seed, though they’ll probably like that too.
My feeders are hung from my clothes poles (clothesline poles) and I’ve put metal toy slinkies around the poles and it seems to work pretty good and gives me a good laugh watching them try to climb with the slinky there. In the past I’ve also used PVC pipe as a feeder pole and the darned squirrels just can’t seem to get a toe-hold enough to climb them.
I feed squirrels in the gingko tree with a jar squirrel feeder and even offer water, just like I do birds. I have always loved squirrels, but recently saw that they depleted the bird feeder. In fact, my bird feeders all added together don’t even add to the amount of seed in your absolute II. So, I used tip #6. I set up a jar squirrel feeder and a squirrel waterer in the gingko tree far from my maple tree. Also, I made all my bird feeders, bird waterers, birdbaths, squirrel feeders, and squirrel waterers myself.
Any suggestions for getting rid of rats? Had to remove my urban feeders due to the appearance of rats under our deck. Never had them in all the years we’ve lived here and feeding birds.
We had the same problem you describe.
The lilac bush wouldn’t support the feeder and a squirrel. So hubby strung a wire he had (similar to clothesline but smoother) from our house eves to a fencepost at the back of our yard and hung the feeder from the wire. You cannot see the wire, but the squirrels cannot navigate it and we can see the feeder from our window(s). The feeder tended to slide on the wire so he put stoppers on both sides of the feeder and it is very successful in holding it where we want it. Works very well for us and keeps the squirrels on the ground beneath the feeder, cleaning up any seed that drops.
It’s worth noting to check laws in your area prior to trying to trap & relocate wildlife, as it’s illegal and punishable by law to trap & relocate any type of wildlife in many states.
I bought one just like that! It definitely helps with the squirrels. Only drawback is it discourages the larger woodpeckers like red bellied and pileated. 😕
I mainly feed suet cakes for the woodpeckers and nuthatches. Many things have failed, but one is working somewhat. I built a hardware cloth cage for one of the feeders hanging on a shepherd’s hook.. Had to cut off all parts that would hurt anything, and lots of folding. It doesn’t completely keep squirrels away, but they definitely get less suet.
I see that you mentioned squirrels do not like hot sauce. Well, I live in East TN and this does not phase them at all. I mixed cayenne pepper in some peanut butter and even covered the peanut butter with some Texas Pete sauce to no avail. What’s the answer here…I give up
i got a squirle prooof bird feeder, but this carzy smart squirle hangs upside down from the roof and eats the food from there!
I have Pileated, Northern Flicker and Downy Woodpeckers eating suet I have nailed on the pine trees. They will only eat suet that way, not on a pole or similar birdfeeder… Now I have 4 squirrels that manage to eat through the metal around the suet and dominate it. They don’t destroy the metal cage. What can I do here as I really like my woodpeckers. I’m trying to get some flight shots but can’t because of the squirrels.
The only thing I have found that works is to relocate them. I bought a cheap trap and bait with peanut butter and walnuts. I’ve relocated 10 in about 5 months. BUT, there is one extremely smart and has seen his comrades in the trap and will not go in. He has acquired the taste for safflower seed as well. I’m going to move the trap around to see if that helps.🐿🤷🏼♀️
As I read this, I am watching the squirrels finish off the last of the hot pepper suet. Maybe they are from Arizona where everything is hot? they also have figured out how to get around the feeders that close with weight limitations by poking their paw in and then hanging from the structure and feeding themselves. Guess their paws and manage the acrobatics that allow them to scoop the seed out. Finally I have tried the cone baffles. It appears that they are able to jump above them. I have not tried the torpedo baffle. Maybe next year!
The problem is that during winter it gets cold and hardens. It worked great during summer they slid right down but not now in cold
Cover the poles with vaseline or cooking spray to add to your enjoyment!
Hello. After reading the myriad reports – pro and con – about birds, feeders, squirrels, and the success or failure of the various methods tried, I would like to report here that – just on a whim one day while perusing the Christmas Tree Shoppe, I bought a little feeder that had just two suction cups to attach to a window. Well, my cat, Beauregard, has his own cupboard next to the sink where he sits, lies in wait, and pounces on all of the birds who come to it. I am now in year 3, I think, and not only have the suction cups not dropped my little feeder, I found it basically impossible – at least with my fingers – to GET them to come off for cleaning purposes. But my point in this diatribe is that I guess by its mere size (about 2″ deep – front to back, 6″ across and maybe 9″ high) and the position of its placement (entirely unplanned) on a kitchen window is the perfect solution because, although the squirrels can indeed climb up the post on the front of the porchlet next to the window, they just cannot get ON the feeder, IN the feeder, nor On TOP of it , nor so far not on the sill because, well, it’s so small and they’re so fat! I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, but at this rate, I may not live to see them succeed! I am so happy with it, and one of these days, equipped with a razor blade scraper or some such, maybe a small pry bar, I’ll get the stinker down and clean it thoroughly, but so far I seem not to have poisoned them with my poor “house-cleaning” habits. And, I just feed everybody black oiled sunflowers and a cage with hot suet for the ‘Peckers. Yum… And the squirrels, well, they seem happy with the black walnut tree in the front and the unused Recycle Bin in the loft in the garden shed in which they live – as well as store their nuts.
In my youth we use to hunt squirrels, rabbits and pheasant and eat them.
would love the product name and the link. Is this the one in Canada?
Help, We have a squirrel I call psycho squirrel he eats everything. But I want to try to naturally get rid of him while encouraging the cute bunnies and amazing birds that we have in our yard. Any suggestions?
I have heard that also. I buy my feed from a specific bird store. They are experts in their field and she told me not to give them corn. She said they love it but it’s of no nutritional value and they will eat so much, like me with ice cream, that it can make them very sick. it was said to me that carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash are good for them and still require the gnawing needed. But, my squirrels didn’t like it at first…. why would they even they have been getting”ice cream”….I just kept putting it down along with the peanuts I give them and eventually that stayed eating it also. hope this helps
My husband loves to feed the finches. He buys the Nyjer seed which the finches just love. It seems that our squirrels love it as well. They have chewed off the wooded pegs on the feeders as well as attacked the feeders. So far the squirrels are winning the battle.
Katie Vance, I gave up on the pepper when I came home to a chipmonk chowing away at the red peppered seed in my platform feeder. He looked at me with a very grateful look on his face as if to say “Thanks for the TexMex, can we order Chinese tomorrow?” Then he hunkered down in the middle of the feeder and continued to eat.
I live in Minnesota; our DNR (Department of Natural Resources) will come and trap the little beasties and take them to an area without humans -we are fortunate to have a bit of uninhabited and wooded land and a critter friendly government and populace.
So another thing, I read in many websites that actually corn and peanuts are not good for squirrels? Because they can have some sort of funghi which is harmful and also don’t have all the nutrients squirrels need? What do you guys think??
This year I built a squirrel feeder and since I put it up and give them a cup of corn and peanuts once or twice a day, I haven’t seen a squirrel in my feeders at all. This is significant because I usually have 10 -12 in my yard at most times. I used to think I fed more squirrels than birds! To not see a single one in any of my 7 feeders is a minor miracle!
Valentina, I am in Florida and have all of the same problems. I came home last night to mice in the feeder 🤦🏻 I am at my wit’s end, too.
Critter ridder repels birds. You need to update your info.
Your website os great! Thank you for so many useful tips.
Unfortunately, most of them do not apply to my wild Florida backyard. 😩
1- We have a real jungle out there, there’s no spot 10feet away from trees or the house.
2 – Our squirrels are ninja – they eat hot pepper, they eat from their designated feeder AND the bird’s one, they chew through metal cages, they climb up a glass door to reach the window feeder on top of it…
3 – There are raccoons, opossums, mice and rats, so I can’t have anything on the ground (there’s also wild peacocks but I don’t mind them). Also the mice are tiny and light so they get through the weight-stopper feeders.
I really don’t know what else to try to keep squirrels away 🙁
I purchased bird seed with chili oil in it from an Urban Nature Store. It works very well!! My feeders are hanging in the trees and since I started using it five days ago, no more squirrels are in my feeders but the birds are still coming which was the desired result. I would highly recommend this feed.
I am an absolute bird feeder neophyte. I purchased a hanging feeder for the 2 cardinals that kept coming to my kitchen window. RIGHT outside the window is a specimen lilac bush. My husband jerry-rigged something to hang the feeder within the branches at our eye-level and when we saw them eating, we were like giddy schoolkids. And then–one big fat squirrel found it. We have just one squirrel around us so assuming it’s that one. The feeder collapses to flat when not hanging (IE can’t go on a post) and my husband would rather get rid of the feeder than put an ugly post in the yard where we can’t even see it. I’m thinking, “live with the damn squirrel”. Any ideas for me?
We use an ultrasonic rodent repeller. It emits a sound that makes them run. We had rats and mice in the attic and in the garage. We installed the ultrasonic devices and we haven’t seen any in years. I don’t have one in front of me to tell you the brand. We ran a couple extension cords in the attic to get all the corners of the roof.
After a long battle with squirrels (husband zero, squirrels 8) we finally found a solution. We had a 10 foot shepherds hook made by a local blacksmith and we placed 2 baffles on it. No squirrels all winter so we think we finally did it !
I tried safflower , but some of the squirrels liked it. The Squirrel Buster feeders have been awesome. .The squirrels can only get seed that falls to the ground. I am going to try the slonky idea.
I have a good reason to hate squirrels since they invaded my house and were living in my facia and got up into my attic. We tried to close off their entry but they just made a bigger hole. Then it had babies and now there are 5. We put in a one way door but the guy who did it left a small strip open and used spray foam over it. They worked on that for a while and are now back in and my son goes crazy when he hears them above his head chewing wood. I bought them 2 squirrel houses and a feeder and I am feeding them but my patience is wearing thin. I might have to pay to repair the damage once I successfully get them out. The guy is going to use metal to repair the hole again but will aluminum keep them out?
Loved the tips, humor, all of it. Including the comments. I too enjoy my squirrels and their antics. It’s a losing battle, but I’m going to try the safflower and peppered suet and see how it goes. I have a lovely wooded garden walk out apartment. There are currently 4 squirrels that are here on a daily basis at my 6 feeders. All different type of feeding apparatuses. None better or worse than the other I’ve come to find. Can’t wait to see what spring migration brings in. I commiserate and enjoy with you. Cheers, Scott and Thank you.
The part about them not eating nyjer seed is bull.
I have a finch feeder full of it & the squirrels have tried to get at the seeds a number of times. They like to hang down from the branch & lick at the feeding slots to get the loose seeds poking out.
When they couldn’t get the seeds out of the feeding slots fast enough for their liking, the little blighters pulled out the perches & tried to get them out of the larger holes….twice!
Fortunately nyjer has a tendency to “wall up” behind the holes, not a problem for the finches who can reach in & get the seeds, but the squirrels can’t get at it, so they’re limited to whatever seeds poke out.
I’m a little surprised the squirrels haven’t chewed through the plastic tube, but it seems to be a diameter that they can’t quite get a purchase with their teeth.
Eventually they gave up tampering with the finch feeder & now they just stop to lick off all the loose nyjer seeds, then move on to the feeder with the sunflower seeds….*sigh*
Also I should mention, the squirrels in my area are fox squirrels, they’re really in a league of their own in the squirrel world, the correct latin name for them should be “sciurus bastardius”…& I’m not sure who thought “fox” was a good name for them either, cuz they’re more like little pigs!
I also disagree a bit with tip #8….I think if you shot ’em in the head they wouldn’t even know what hit ’em, so it wouldn’t actually hurt them. However that would be a tough shot to make properly.
LOL, I live in central Florida and every fall, usually around September-October, we get Painted Buntings and they stick around until April-May. So they LOVE the white Millet and that’s usually what we start putting in our feeders around that time. The squirrels LOVE it!!! I have had two squirrels at a time sitting on our feeder scooping it out by the handfuls. I try to put peanuts, whole as well as shelled off in another area but they clean it out in less than a day so I don’t get that done everyday. We use the squirrel proof peanut feeder and that works great, unfortunately the buntings don’t eat much other than the Millet but the woodpeckers, bluejays, titmouse all love the peanuts.
Nancy – I wish my squirrels would stop at burying the peanuts in the yard. Mine have chewed multiple holes through my lanai/pool screen to get inside the lanai to eat or hide their peanuts. Boggled my mind to discover they would chew their way in just to stash their food, not to hunt for it. I quit eating out there long ago after discovering any scraps of any size or type attracted critters of all kinds – squirrels, rats, mice, snakes, cockroaches, raccoons, even birds coming in through the holes chewed in the lanai screen by the rodents!!! Also, here in Florida scents attract gators from the lake I live on. Grilling on the lanai is the dumbest thing you can do, given how it leaves gator attracting juices and scraps! In Florida, you can’t win, so you just learn to live with all the critters – on your feeders, in your house, on your lanai, on hikes, …
Conclusion (for me): After trying everything, I’ve decided to simply put off with going through my bird seed. The squirrels will take their toll, but aren’t on the feeders constantly. The cardinals, jays, grackles, etc. that I am trying to attract still manage to eat during the times the squirrels aren’t lounging on the feeders – yes lounging! They’re really quite funny the way some of them lie across the perches and munch on the seed in a leisurely manner, like they’re lying on the couch watching TV munching on chips or popcorn. LOL
This didn’t connect to the comment I was replying to – Katie Vance’s comment about her parents lack of success with hot pepper.
I totally agree – cayenne peppper, no matter how high the concentration, hasn’t stopped the squirrels at all. I even put it on the window ledge where they jump to the feeder from, with large quantities mixed into vaseline so it sticks to the ledge. Didn’t stop them at all. Squirrels even hung out on the ledge for extended periods despite the vaseline and heavy doses of cayenne. Worst part was that the cardinals who were coming to the feeder before, in between squirrel raids, quit coming. Contrary to other reports, they don’t seem to like the taste of the cayenne. They may not be bothered by the hotness, but birds are very taste oriented – if they don’t like the taste, they won’t eat it. Much more picky than the darn squirrel raiders!
A slinky works great. I tried just about everything else and a 3$ childs toy is the only thing that has worked
How did you fasten it on?
haha i totally just screenshotted another one just now 😀
My dad and stepmom tried the pepper method and mixed in a bunch of pepper in the bird seed. Has not stopped squirrels at all.
Squirrel was on the back platform..until a Cooper’s Hawk flew in to mess with it!
you’ve got a squirrel on the top now!! 😮
We have three old oak trees so no chance of keeping squirrels away. I have two metal squirrel proof feeders that they easily defeat so my only hope is to feed safflower in one and nyjer in a tube. I do fill the other metal feeder with mixed seed that the squirrels eat but it does bring other birds. Thanks for the heads up about white millet. I will look for that.
Crazy squirrel…it has lots of food right there in the tray. Food must taste better in the bird house. 🙂
Yep…that squirrel is munching inside your green house looking feeder.
Oh no! Grey squirrel on the feeding tray July 31 @ 8:10am! Great live feed and thanks!
Squirrel in the dome top feeder at 8:30 am on 7/19 but lots of birds too!
They obviously are suffering from a vitamin deficiency, LEAD!
You had a black squirrel at 2:30 today who was hanging and eating from the feeder on the far right until I left my computer about 2:40.
I have not found any good method of keeping squirrels out of my bird feeders. I keep my feeders in the trees. I don’t have many trees but the lot across the street is wooded and they come across to my yard for my bird seed. Pepper has not stopped them. Squirrel-proof bird feeders have not stopped them. My cats will chase them off when I allow them out.
They do not attack them, nor the birds, believe it or not. They tried to go after the birds when I first started feeding them; one feeder was nearly destroyed when one of my male cats took a vertical leap trying to reach a bird. But I seem to have trained them well to leave the birds alone. They “stalk” them, but won’t attack. And the squirrels they will chase, but not attack. They are usually faster than the cats anyway.
What a great blog! Thank you!!!
You’re welcome Christy! Make sure to check out the live cams and come back often. 🙂
Squirrel in the feeder. Looks like he’s enjoying himself.
There is a dang squirrel in your top tray feeder!! WHAT? Love love love watching the top feeders during the day and the crazy activity you have at night!! So awesome!! Thanks for providing so much entertainment!!
Yes, they have been leaping down from some overgrown branches this spring. I need to get out there and do some pruning!
There are squirrels in the bird feeders. Three currently. Funny, there are no squirrels in the squirrel feeder but there are several birds!
🙂 Just because you write an article about squirrels doesn’t mean the squirrels know they need to behave while on camera!
Check your video at 12:59 pm, 6/04/2019 for a squirrel falling onto the platform feeder. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Thank you for your variety of suggestions. I considered feeding the squirrels except they bring fleas and dig holes in my (grass free) back yard to bury peanuts fed to them by a lady a block away.
Good morning, thanks for the great advice! I had my squirrel problem under control until I moved the feeder to the back yard. The little stinkers ate all that was in a large feeder in one day! After reading your article I believe it may be placed too close to the wood stack even though the 10 foot jump blows my mind! Thank you! PS there is a squirrel on the teal box feeder on your live cam! Pesky little cutie pies!
There is a squirrel in the teal box. 5/30/19 8:39 AM eastern time.
Hello, I’d really love to see the top of the feeders in the video to see how it’s all connected and why squirrels aren’t getting on there. Can you move the camera up a bit or zoom out a bit?
Hey Mary! I just built the bird feeder pole you see in the live cams. I plan on writing a post and posting some pictures of the whole set up. If you go to my Youtube page under community you can see the whole set up now.
Unfortunately, my squirrels have not got the memo about not liking safflower seeds either. They have a tray to share with some birds, but it does not stop them from climbing the 2 poles equipped with 4 feeders each. And the hot pepper food looses its heat after some rain or snow. Not to mention the fact that when the snow is high enough, they jump above the baffle on the pole. I love them too, but I reached a limit when I counted 15 black ones and six grey ones at the same time on or under the feeders… the birds were literally evicted. I got some help from extra-long arms on the pole, which mean that the squirrel can’t hold onto the pole with its hing legs and grab a feeder with the front paws. The tube-shaped weight-activated feeders are the only ones that stop these little rascals, for the moment!
Quite by accident I stumbled upon your site and whilst browsing the Hummingbird information, I came upon one of your webcams. After just a few seconds, I was delighted to find I wasn’t the only nocturnal creature up at 2:45a.m. Your ground feeder was a hot-bed of activity. I thought you might like to know what went on while you slept. Although, I suspect you’re probably well aware of the wildlife activity there. Anyway, I started watching what I’m fairly sure was a light-colored, American Hognose Skunk, owing to its white tail and somewhat reverse coloration. I left the window open while I checked email and such and watched as this skunk foraged in the feeder – quite happily, but for a couple brief instances where it was startled and assumed an alert/defensive posture. Finally about 3a.m. the skunk was interrupted and scurried off. Then I was amazed to see a truly odd-couple, wander into view – a Striped Skunk (the most commonly recognizable of the various Skunks) accompanied by a fairly large Racoon. Whether or not they were traveling together I don’t know, but they happily sat side-by-side, paying little – if any – attention to one another. The Racoon was vigilant as it ate, looking around warily, while the Skunk seemed blissfully oblivious. The pair continued to eat, until they were briefly interrupted by the appearance of an Opossum, who decided to dine elsewhere, disappearing back into the darkness. Just a few minutes later a Rabbit appeared but it too opted to pass on your offering and hopped out of sight. Shortly thereafter, the Skunk departed, followed a few minutes later by the Racoon. I continued working, but about 20 minutes later, I noticed activity in my peripheral vision and was drawn back to my monitor, where I observed that the same Racoon (I think) had returned, along with another, smaller, probably younger Racoon. They ate for some time, before being joined by the Striped Skunk. Again, I was a bit surprised to see the now two Racoons, joined by the Skunk. There were a couple brief instances of food envy, with the younger Racoon being short-tempered; and then between that same Racoon and the Skunk. However, those couple of cases not withstanding, the trio seemed to be unusually chummy with no hesitation for sharing the space. Because I was getting precious little work done, I forced myself to close the webcam window, but stayed long enough to write these comments. First, let me apologize for the length of my comments, but more importantly, offer my sincere thanks for a very well put-together website and for the awesome hour or so of entertainment. I hope you’ll be as entertained as I was.
Again, many thanks for your work!!
Dallas, Texas & Westcliffe, Colorado
Hey Scott! Yes, I know there is A LOT of action on the cameras at night. It’s the last thing I watch at night and first thing I turn on in the morning. Glad you came across the cams and hope you come back often!!
I am still fighting the squirrels. My squirrels love safflower seed. Cayenne & jalapeño pepper do not stop them either.
Wow. You have super squirrels! Where do you live?