13 Proven Methods To Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders

August 13, 2020 // 13 minutes read // 3 Shares

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how to squirrel proof bird feeder

Squirrels love the seed from your bird feeders, but they prompt bird watchers to investigate how to squirrel-proof bird feeder. With their incredible acrobatic, they might seem almost impossible to stop. These critters can jump long distances, balance on small footholds, climb very steep surfaces, chew plastic to get in, or even squeeze through small holes.

Unless your home has tens of these squirrels, you can easily keep them off your birdfeeder so your birds can feed in peace. Again, learning how to squirrel-proof bird feeder is one way to save money on expensive birdseed.

In this guide, I will show you exactly how to keep squirrels out of bird feeders. Read on.

1. Adjust the Position of Your Bird Feeder

Squirrels can jump vertically for up to 6 feet. Horizontally, they can jump up to 9 feet. If you note that squirrels still get into your bird feeder, then your feeder doesn’t hang far enough.

To avoid squirrels, hang the feeder at least 10 feet away from trees. You can use strings to hang the feeder in between two trees. While at it, ensure that there are no branches the squirrel can use as launching pads to get to the feeder.

Again, you have to proof the string that attaches to the feeder. You can do that by attaching a disk or open trash can lids on either side of the feeder. The squirrel-proof on the string should allow you to watch birds from your house.

2. Using a Squirrel Baffle

Bird feeder poles are great when you need to avoid squirrels. They are also ideal when you need a clean yard with no ugly hanging wires or trash cans hanging from trees.

Most bird feeder poles, however, are not squirrel proof. The squirrel can get to the feeder from the top and from the bottom. To proof the pole, install it away from trees so the squirrels do not jump from tree branches to the top of the pole.

Hanging Baffle

You can also use a hanging squirrel baffle to keep off squirrels that jump from trees to land to the top. A baffle looks like an inverted bowl that you place to the top of pole and the bird feeder. When the squirrel jumps onto the bird feeder, it will fall off.

Your hanging baffle should be metallic. This way, the squirrel will not chew its way into the bird feeder. Again, metal doesn’t offer traction to critters and this makes them slide off.

Bottom Baffle

A bottom squirrel baffle protects the feeder from climbing squirrels. This baffle wraps at the bottom of the pole to block the climbing squirrels. The baffle might be plastic or metal and it makes the squirrels slide off whenever they try to climb the pole.

Place your bottom squirrel baffle higher than 6 feet to ensure squirrels do not jump over it. You also need to ensure the feeder is far from any surfaces the squirrel can use as launching pads.

DIY Baffle

If you cannot buy a baffle from the store, or you can’t find a good one, try using a plastic or metallic pipe wrapped around the bottom of the pole. A 3-inch PVC pipe will do, or if your pole is thick, you can use stove pipe. The pipe makes it hard for squirrels to climb the pole.

3. Lubricate the Metal Pole

Lubricants make the pole slippery so the critter keeps falling off. You can use petroleum jelly or any other lubricant that is safe for the squirrels and your pets. Add enough lubricant on the pole to at least 6 feet high. If you have a hanging baffle, apply lubricant on it to reduce traction and ensure the squirrels fall off.

Petroleum jelly is the safest lubricant. However, it will harden when it is cold so you can only use it during warm weather. Even when it is warm, you need to keep reapplying the lubricant, and it can be messy as it attracts dust to the pole.

Some lubricants can harm squirrels, pets, and your feathered friends. Granted, you should avoid grease, which might harm the animals if ingested accidentally or falls on the feathers of the birds.

Glue is especially dangerous to animals and birds as it sticks to the fur and feathers, damaging them. With glue, the birds might lose their flight ability and their warmth. Because your intention is not to hurt the squirrels, ensure any method you use does not put them, the birds, pets, and you in any danger.

4. Use Slinky

A slinky is a fun toy for children. It is a strong spring that stretches downward under gravity. When installed on a pole, the slinky stretches downward so the squirrel keeps sliding back to its initial position. All you need is to learn how to attach slinky to bird feeder pole.

You need to install slinky from the bottom of the pole – high enough that the squirrels do not jump over it. This means you might have to uproot the pole, slide the slinky up, and hang it on a hook on the pole. If your pole lacks a slinky hook, you can weld one onto it.

The slinky is a fun way to stop squirrels, but it doesn’t hold for long. Squirrels do not give up, and with time, the slinky might lose its springiness and the squirrels might use it as a ladder. A large slinky is also hazardous to squirrels and other animals as they may be stuck in it.

squirrel proofing bird feeders
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5. Use Foods Squirrels Don’t Like

Squirrels hate bird seed mix with niger thistle seeds, safflower seeds, and white proso millet seeds. Using these mixes will keep squirrels off the feeder. Your feathered friends will love the mixes.

Although this method is effective, it will work as long as squirrels can find other sources of food. If the squirrels are hungry, they will eat the mix without a problem.

You can also mix the seeds with hot pepper. Squirrels cannot take the hotness of capsaicin in their mouths and throats, and they may never come back to the feeder. On the other hand, birds are not affected by capsaicin.

You can buy commercially available hot pepper mixed bird seed or create your own mix by combining chilli powder, flakes, or oil in your bird seed mixture. Mixing your own seeds is ideal as you can adjust the heat level to keep the squirrels off completely. The idea is not to put the squirrels in pain but to chase them away.

6. Get Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Instead of wondering how to squirrel proof bird feeder, you can buy a squirrel proof bird feeder. If the squirrel cannot access to bird feeder, it doesn’t help them in any way no matter how well they climb.

Weighted Perch

A feeder with a weighted perch features a mechanism that closes when a squirrel or any heavier weight lands on it. The perch accommodates the weight of birds but not squirrels. With this kind of a feeder, you never have to struggle squirrel proofing your feeder.

Outer Metal Cage

If your intention is to feed small birds such as sparrows, a metallic cage comes in handy. A feeder with a metal cage allows birds to get in through the holes on the cage, but obstructs the squirrels, thanks to their size.

See-Saw Design Feeder

Here, you use counterbalanced baffles that act as see-saws. If the squirrel lands on the baffle, the baffle tilts and the squirrel slides off. The baffle might also be placed in such a way that it closes the food port when the squirrel steps on it.

7. Electrify the Bird Feeder

Some bird feeders come electrified. These feeders work the same way as weighted perches. When the squirrel lands on the perch, the perch spins, making it hard for the squirrel to access the birdseed. The perch spins until the squirrel gets dizzy enough to fall off the perch.

You can learn to electrify a bird feeder by using motors and weight sensors. The method is effective and does not cause any harm to the squirrel besides making it dizzy. You will need to replace the batteries regularly to keep the motorized feeder operational.

8. Remove Bird Feeder for a Few Days

If the squirrels are too many, you might want to hide the bird feeder for a few days. The squirrels might realize that their food source is gone and move on to other homesteads. If you notice the squirrels are gone, you can then put back the feeder and your feathered friends will come back.

This is not a permanent solution; it is a way of warding off many squirrels eyeing one bird feeder. The squirrels might be back when the feeder comes back on.

9. Feed the Squirrels Separately

Feeding the squirrels is a way of keeping your expensive birdseed safe from squirrels. Place the squirrels’ feeding station on the ground, many meters away from the bird feeder. Hang corn feeders on a tree branch or on a wooden surface.

Corn is less expensive than birdseed and it appeals to squirrels. You can also get some nuts, berries, and leftovers from your home as squirrel food.

10. Maintain Your Garden

Instead of wondering how to squirrel proof bird feeder, start thinking of how to squirrel proof your garden. The easiest way to keep squirrels off is to keep your garden neat. Ensure there are no overgrowths in the garden that might attract arboreal rodents.

Start by trimming tree branches to keep them at least 10 feet away from the bird feeder and reduce hiding spots for the squirrels. Remove any surfaces that give squirrels access to surfaces such as your roof.

Every part of your yard and especially the area around your bird feeder should be clean. Find a way to collect birdseed that falls to keep the squirrels from foraging at the bottom of the feeder. Removing fallen foods is also ideal when you need to keep the birds from eating contaminated foods.

Keep the grass in your home short so you can see areas where the squirrels bury their nuts. Remove their nuts and force them out of your property. If they have nothing to come back for, they may avoid your property completely.

11. Install Fake Predators in Your Garden

You can chase away squirrels by installing fake predators as garden décor. You do not have to buy these as you can repurpose old toys into these predators. You can create a fake owl or a snake and place them on tree branches.

Squirrels will run from predators and may never come back. However, you still need to change the position of the fake predators often so the squirrels will not learn that they are fake and start ignoring them. Some fake predators such as snakes might scare away the birds. Ensure the predators are away from the bird feeder.

You can identify the paths the squirrels follow to your home and place the fake predators along these paths.

12. Install Motion Activated Sprinkler

These sprinklers are great when you need to keep squirrels off your feeders. The sprinklers have infrared sensors that detect motion and start sprinkling your yard. Installing such a sprinkler will cost you money, but it can be an effective way to keep squirrels off when you are not home.

13. Use of Squirrel Repellents

Squirrel repellents are effective at keeping squirrels away from the feeder or garden without affecting your feathered friends. You need peppermint and other scented essential oils and a spray bottle. You can add chilli flakes in your essential oils to make the repellent effective.

Spray the repellent at the base of your feeder pole and a few feet of the pole. Also spray any other area that squirrels might use to get to your feeder or home.

Some commercial products contain predator blood or urine and these will keep off the squirrels. These products are available at your feed store or hardware. Strategically place the products on the path of the squirrels.

Bonus Tip: If you try all these methods and you still have a squirrel problem, then it shows there are more squirrels in your neighborhood than you can deal with. If such is your case, call a professional who will use advanced methods to remove squirrels from your home. Professionals use methods such as trapping and relocating the squirrels to a forest.

Avoid methods that might put the squirrels in harm’s way such as hunting them or using poison.

Product Recommendations

1. Brome Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder

This is a bird feeder with a slim profile. It is completely squirrel proof as the weight of the squirrel on the perch closes the shroud. Again, the feeder has a metallic cage around it so birds can feed with ease, but squirrels have no access to the food.

All exposed parts feature chew-proof metal so the squirrels will not have their way into the feeder. Each unit has a ventilation system for the seeds to ensure that the seeds stay fresh for long to attract birds of all types. Again, you do not need any tools to assemble the feeder. You only need to leave enough clearance around the feeder.

Check it out here.

2. Perky Pet Lantern Wild Bird Feeder

This bird feeder has the structure of a lantern, which looks great on your yard whether hanging from a branch or pole. It uses patented sure-lock system that keeps squirrels out. When the squirrels land on the unit, it closes and locks them out.

Other features include U-shaped adjustable perches that are comfortable for birds and seed saving drain holes. With these holes, any spilled seed doesn’t fall off the feeder. Exposed parts are metallic so the squirrels do not chew their way in.

Check out the feeder here.

3. Roamwild PestOff Cardinal Bird Feeder

The Roamwild Cardinal bird feeder is squirrel proof, but it also keeps off baby squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, and large birds. It uses spring-loaded perches that are ready to go out of the box. Unlike other feeders that might close when many birds are feeding, the Roamwild feeder uses individually-loaded springs to accommodate a large number of birds feeding without closing.

It is weatherproof and waterproof to keep the seed dry and fresh and keep attracting birds. The seeds never clog as the feeder doesn’t allow water in. Each feeder accommodates three pounds of feed so you never have to refill regularly.

It is easy to open and refill the feeder with no tools. Check out this feeder here.


Squirrels can be problematic, but you can get rid of them with ease. Whether you have to learn how to attach slinky to bird feeder, or stop what would pull down a bird feeder, you have to stop the critters from eating bird feed.

Bird feed is expensive and it might cost you so much if you have to feed squirrels on it. As such, keep squirrels off by either using squirrel proof feeder, squirrel proofing your garden, or squirrel proof the feeder pole.

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