wood bird feeders - Squirrel-proof Bird Feeders

Bird feeder with squirrel baffleImage by rustytanton via Flickr

Win The Squirrel War With Squirrel-proof Bird Feeders
By Larry Jordan
If you have squirrel problems, a squirrel-proof bird feeder may be your best solution. There are several species of ground squirrels and tree squirrels in North America that can create problems for bird enthusiasts. The Fox Squirrel and the Eastern and Western Gray Squirrels are species of tree squirrels that are most commonly involved with causing problems for home owners and bird watchers.

Squirrel-proof bird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. They range from the simple baffle-topped feeders, to the weight activated hopper feeders like the Homestead Super Stop-A-Squirrel. For the serious backyard birder there is the Droll Yankees' Yankee Flipper that uses a battery operated device, activated by the squirrel's weight, to (harmlessly) propel the squirrel off of the feeder.

One of the major problems bird watchers have with squirrels is that the squirrels take over the feeders and scare the birds away. But that's not the only problem. Depending on the season and what's available locally, the squirrel's diet is made up mostly of nuts, fruits, plant buds, seeds and flowers. However, squirrels are not vegetarian. They also eat bird eggs and nestlings that they will snatch right out of birdhouses. They may pounce on unsuspecting birds at feeders also.

There are two clear strategies for solving the problem of keeping squirrels away from your feeders and birdhouses. You can prevent the (cute) pesky rodents from gaining access to your treasures, or you can give them a better, alternate place to dine.

Let's tackle the preventative strategy first. There are some very simple ways to keep your birdhouses and feeders safe from squirrel damage. And let me add here that it is imperative to keep your birdhouses safe from possible predation. You can build your own predator guard from my plans or you can purchase squirrel baffles, which come in a variety of styles, sizes, shapes and colors.

What you want to do is to keep squirrels

away from your feeders and birdhouses right from the start. Squirrels are very persistent and once they find an easy source of food, they will try to overcome any obstacle you may put in their way.

Squirrels are extremely agile and can leap eight feet or more and climb almost anything. For this reason alone, if you have squirrel problems in your yard, keep your bird feeders and birdhouses at least eight feet away from any tree limbs or man-made structures and install baffles on the supporting posts.

If you must hang your bird feeders in trees, you will want to keep them away from the main trunk and equip them with a dome baffle or simply use a squirrel-proof bird feeder that is designed with a dome-type top.

Another popular style of squirrel-proof bird feeders is the caged feeder. The caged feeders consist of an inner feeder that contains the seed, surrounded by a wire cage that prevents squirrels from getting to that seed. They simply put the food out of reach for the hungry squirrel.

Even the most persistent squirrels should be thwarted by any of these squirrel-proof bird feeders or baffle feeder combinations. So let's consider the second strategy of giving the squirrels a better alternative than your bird feeders or birdhouses for their banquets.

This strategy involves setting up a squirrel feeding station somewhere away from your bird feeders with the food stuffs that squirrels really like. There are several different squirrel feeders that not only let the squirrels enjoy the nuts, sunflower seeds and fruit they like the most, there are some that let you watch their antics as they feed on one of their favorite foods, corn on the cob.

So whether you love squirrels or hate 'em, these are some solutions to the "squirrel dilemma" that many birders face. You may even have some new thoughts on how you can live with squirrels and keep your bird feeders and birdhouses off limits to these cute, furry critters.

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