How To Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders [10 Proven Methods]

December 3, 2020 // 11 minutes read // 20 Shares

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squirrel on a bird feeder

Bird feeding is the most rewarding feeling in the world. However, there are times that it just gets on your nerve. I’m talking about those pesky squirrels that steal the food of the birds you are trying to feed. This drives me nuts and has lead me on the quest of finding “how to squirrel proof bird feeder” solutions.

There is nothing worse than buying expensive bird feed that just ends up getting eaten by squirrels!

There are multiple ways in how to squirrel proof bird feeders. Here, we will give you some tips on how to do exactly that. There will be products along the way that will help you out. Always remember though, that some of these tips and product suggestions might not work for everyone. It still very much depends on your situation.

How to squirrel proof bird feeder
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What is up with Squirrels and Bird Feeders?

The first thing we have to talk about is why exactly squirrels steal the feed in your feeders. Some of the best birdseed like black oil sunflower seeds, suet, and nuts are just as attractive to squirrels as they are to birds.


It may seem that there should be no problem with squirrels having a little birdseed or suet to nourish themselves for the day. The problem lies, however, in the frequency of their visits, their greedy appetites, and the occasional attitudes.

If you’re like me…

You don’t appreciate squirrel’s behavior around your bird feeders and that’s why you start to search for a squirrel-proof bird feeder to eliminate or minimize squirrel theft while still being able to attract specific types of birds.

10 Ways: How To Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Below are some tips that will teach birdwatching enthusiasts how to squirrel proof your bird feeders. There also might be some bird feeders that are made specifically for avoiding this very incident. Let’s take a look at what these are so you’ll know how to keep squirrels out of bird feeders.

Tip #1: Location, Location, Location

One thing that you can do is to reassess where you place your feeders. If you place them near trees where the squirrels can jump on the feeders and feed themselves, then your squirrel problem is never going to go away.

Always remember the 5-7-9 rule for squirrel protection. Squirrels have their limits too. They cannot jump more than 5 feet up from the ground, 7 feet across, say, from a tree, and they do not want to drop more than 10 feet from the feeder above.

Use these numbers as a guide for placing your feeders and keeping them from pesky squirrels.

Tip #2: Cages

Just like most cages, having a cage protect your bird feeder can protect the seeds you are trying to keep from getting stolen. You can make your own cages to keep the squirrels out, but there are also some cages that you can buy in hardware stores that can be turned into cages that protect your bird’s seeds.

If you think that cages are a perfect safeguard for your backyard, and still don’t have a feeder, why not get a feeder that has a built-in cage included already. One of our favorite caged feeders is the Gray Bunny Caged Tube Feeder:

Gray Bunny Wild Bird Feeders Squirrel Proof for Outside Hanging, 1.25 lb Capacity Steel Bird Feeder Squirrel Proof for Small Birds, Chew Proof and Rust Proof, 4-Port
  • PRODUCT DIMENSIONS: 6.25"L x 6.25"W x 10.5"H
  • SQUIRREL DETERRENT: Updated strong lid closure & the unique caged design makes our bird feeder squirrel deterrent and perfect for attracting a variety of birds such as finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, juncos and more! Great for mixed seed blends, millet, milo, unshelled peanuts, sunflower seeds, and thistle.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Durable, premium grade steel cage is weather/water-resistant and chew-proof for years of use! This cage feeder prevents larger birds like grackles, pigeons, or cowbirds from overtaking the feeder
  • EFFECTIVE DESIGN: 4 Feeding Ports are well-spaced and located on multiple levels so birds can feed from all angles. Enclosed seed housing keeps up to 20 ounce of seeds fresh & dry preventing moldy buildup which is harmful for birds, and clear housing lets you see when it’s time to replenish seeds. Easy to re-fill feeder, simply unlatch and raise the lid to refill.
  • ENTERTAINING & GREAT GIFT IDEA: A great gift idea for any occasion. Provides parents, nature-lovers, and children with daily enjoyment watching birds up-close. Mount on a shepherd’s hook, bird feeder stand, or feeding station, and enjoy hours of bird watching!

This caged feeder can attract a wide variety of birds such as finches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and juncos. They are sized specifically to keep the squirrels out of the feeders and allow these small-sized birds to get their nourishment for the day.

Tip #3: Baffles

A baffle is a device that looks like an inverted bowl that you place on the pole and the feeder. This stops squirrels from climbing and jumping from the trees that are near the pole and the feeder.

There are 3 types of baffles that you can use to stop these squirrels from stealing your birds’ feeders as described below:

  1. Hanging Baffle. You place these on top of the pole and on top of the feeder. When they try to jump from a tree nearby, they will fall off it and fail at their attempt. Your hanging baffle should be metallic so that the squirrels will not chew through it and still try to steal the seeds in the feeder.
  2. Bottom Baffle. This is the type of baffle that you place at the bottom of the pole to prevent any squirrels climb up the pole your feeder is hanging from. Once the squirrel tries to climb up the pole, they will just slide off and not reach the top of the pole.
  3. DIY Baffle. Lastly, if the budget is tight, you can actually make your own baffles. Any plastic or metal pipes wrapped around the top or bottom of the pole will work. Most people use 3-inch pipes made of PVC or a stove pipe.

Tip #4: Slinkies

Use a slinky encase a bird feeder pole to prevent squirrels from climbing up or at the very least, deter them for a little bit. One of our favorites that are just made for this is the Slinky For Bird Feeder Pole from Songbird Essentials.

No products found.

This slinky works with poles that have a diameter of up to 1-inch. It is 48 inches in length so you can use it for many pole lengths. Most people ask how to attach a slinky to a bird feeder pole. The way to attach the slinky is by feeding the pole through the middle and attaching it at the top. Secure the slinky well so that it doesn’t just fall off the pole. Once the slinky is secure, let it fall to the ground and cut some off the slinky so that the pole is exposed.

This is a funny video showing how effective a slinky can be!

Tip #5: **Spicy Seeds** – Switch Things Up

One thing about mammals is that we are very sensitive to the perceived heat of peppers. Fortunately, birds are not. Adding cayenne pepper or other sorts of peppers to your mix of bird seeds can surely get the squirrel run from the feeder itself.

You need to be doing this consistently so that it deters the squirrels from stealing the seeds. Be careful however as they can hurt you if mishandled. The best way to prepare this is by using gloves and avoid breathing in the spices.

If you like, there are pre-made bird feed that comes treated with even hotter spices. This can be an easy way for you to keep those squirrels away.

Tip #6: Use Different Type of Feeders

If you are not so much into the Do-It-Yourself trend, there are feeders that are already made for the exact reasons that we are in this article. If you are in the market for bird-feeders that can instantly repel squirrels from stealing your bird’s feed.

Here are some of the best ones that we found on Amazon that you can order for your backyard.

Nature’s Rhythm Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

Nature's Rhythm Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder of Weather Guard 4 Classic Ports,1.5lb Seed Capacity,Wild Bird Feeder Hanging for Garden Yard Outside (Black)
  • 5*5*12.5inch overall size, hold up 1.5lb seed capacity.
  • Weather proof feeding port design and the weather guard keep the seed fresh and dry. Twist lid for simple using and filling. It can also proof the squirrel get the seeds from the top.
  • Classic tube design for easily hanging it anywhere, like the tree branches, hooks or feeding station to easily and quickly attract birds, 4 classic ports allow more varieties at the same time.
  • Transparent seed compartment, easily to see when see runs out and replenish in time and also can container the mixed seed, black-oil sunflower seed, sunflower heart/chips and thistle to attract the birds including Juncos, Cardinals, chickadees, Grosbeaks, Siskins,Nuthatches,Titmouses, Blue Jays, finches and more.
  • The weight of an adult squirrel and dove automatically closes.

This bird feeder features a port design and a weather guard so that your seeds remain safe and dry. Simply twist the lid for simple using and filling. It has a baffle on top of the feeder to protect it from squirrels.

It is designed as a tube so you can hang it anywhere or by using a pole with a shepherd’s hook. There are 4 branches where different varieties of birds can enjoy the seeds that you offer. Once an animal with an average weight of a squirrel tries to sit on one of these branches, the door to the seeds automatically closes and they will not be able to get any seeds anymore.

Use a mix of seeds so you can attract different kinds of birds such as Juncos, Cardinals, chickadees, Grosbeaks, Siskins, Nuthatches, Titmouses, Blue Jays, finches and so much more.

Perky-Pet Squirrel-Be-Gone Max Bird Feeder

Perky-Pet 334-1SR Squirrel-Be-Gone Max Large Wild Bird Feeder with Flexports, Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder with Weight-Activated Perches - 4LB Seed Capacity
  • Keep Squirrels Out – The weight-activated Seed Shield closes ports when squirrels try to feed & the Sure-Lock cap prevents them from removing the lid
  • More Birdwatching Time - The patented Flexports allow for a more optimal feeding position outside the port, so birds feel safer and stay longer
  • Accommodate Many Birds – The four ladder-style perch pads are designed to fit both small and large birds, so none of your favorite species are left out
  • 4x Less Seed Loss – Flexports are designed to be more resistant to weather and squirrel shaking, meaning money saved and fewer messes on the ground
  • Easy to Fill & Clean – The extra-wide, 6-inch opening allows for mess-free filling, while the removable, twist-off lid makes cleaning a breeze

The Perky-Pet Squirrel-Be-Gone Bird Feeder is an all-metal weight activated bird feeder with four feeding stations located at the bottom of the feeder with flexports.  This bird feeder can hold up to 4 pounds of seed.

This weight activated bird feeder can keep those pesky squirrels away for good. Once a squirrel gets on the feeder, the ports close off to prevent them from stealing the seeds meant for the birds.

This is also has a powder-coated finish so that it can withstand all weather conditions. It is built for resistance and durability.

Tip #7: Shepherd’s Hooks

Now that you have your chosen feeder, the question now is where to hang them?

Shepherd’s Hooks are basically bird feeding poles where you can hang your chosen or DIY bird feeders in your backyard. These hooks and poles are meant to be planted in the ground so you can hang your bird feeders where you want to.

There are some that don’t want their feeders near a tree, and this can be useful for that. There are also some that do not have any place to hang their feeders on. This gives them the opportunity to secure a place to feed the birds.

One of our top picks for Shepherd’s Hooks is the Bird Feeder Pole from Feed Garden as shown below:

FEED GARDEN Shepherd Hook Bird Feeder Pole 92 Inch, Non-Hollow Super Strong Rust Resistant Premium Metal Hook for Bird Feeders,Hanging Plant Baskets,Weddings,Lanterns,Black,1 Pack
  • 🐦HIGH QUALITY:Set of 1 black heavy duty garden shepherd hooks, 92 inch tall, 3/5 inch diameter. Our shepherds hook is made of high-quality iron, and the painted surface makes it anti-rust.The solid material is so reliable that you don't have to worry about quality.
  • 🐦MULTIPLE USES: Add beauty to your outdoor living space by hanging wind chimes, mason jars,string lights, solar lights, lanterns, flower baskets, bird baths, bird feeders, flower pots, isle markers, ornaments, shooting targets, garden lights, candle holders and more garden decorations!
  • 🐦STYLISH:The shepherds hooks can be perfectly integrated into the garden scene, simple design can match more hanging items.The black paint surface makes it look bright and shiny.The solid material is so reliable that makes you never worry about the quality.
  • 🐦EASY INSTALLATION: No extra steps, just easily stake the shepherd hook in the ground,and you are ready to use. Please trust its stability, the forked and extra-long base prongs make the shepards hook planted in the ground stably.
  • 🐦ABOUT US: FEED GARDEN provides quality products and efficient after-sales service.If you're not satisfied with our metal garden hanging hooks, please contact us, we will provide you with a solution as soon as possible.

You can buy this on Amazon and have it delivered straight to your home. This is a high quality 92-inch tall pole with a diameter of 0.5 inches. It is made from iron and is anti-rust so you can use it in all weather.

It’s so easy to install that you don’t even need tools. Just simply stake into the ground where you want it to be and hang your feeder. It’s as simple as that.

Tip #8: Remove The Feeder For A While

If you are having trouble with squirrels coming to your feeder every day, then you might want to just remove the feeder for a while until no squirrels come to your backyard. Then return the feeder once the coast is clear.

This will let the squirrels know that there is no bird feeder here and they start to find a new place to feed.

Tip #9: Electrifying the Feeder

One thing that most people ask is how to electrify a bird feeder. Before we answer that question, we must know what an electrified feeder does.

Electrifying a bird feeder is not meat to take the life of the squirrel. It is only meant to shock the squirrel until it becomes dizzy and cleave the bird feeder alone.

You can build your own electrified feeders or you can choose to electrify any feeder you bought with just a couple of materials. You would need an electric energizer as your power source. You will also need Wiring feeder components to connect to the energizer that will end up wrapped around your pole and your feeder.

You can also buy a pre-made electric bird feeder, specifically designed to shock squirrels but keep birds safe. Wild Bill’s 8 Station Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder is one of our favorites:

Wild Bill's 8 Station Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
  • Squirrels get a tiny shock when they attempt to raid the feeder
  • Absolutely the best squirrel proof bird feeder I have ever used
  • They don't get hurt, they just go elsewhere
  • They only try it a couple of times before they give up
  • Hang or pole mounts (pole mount not included)

Tip #10: Give Squirrels Their Own Feeders

One of the best things to do is to just give the squirrels a feeder of their own. I know that they are the enemy but by doing this, you are giving them a chance to feed without disturbing the birds. You can place this below the feeder so that even before they attempt to go up the pole, they will be greeted by seeds and nuts that they can enjoy before they try to steal the bird’s feed.

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders Wrap Up

Squirrels can wreak havoc on your bird feeders. However, there really are many ways that you can prevent them from stealing the seeds or suet on your bird feeder. There are many things that could help you with this that you can buy online.

They can help you electrify them (low voltage of course), keep them away from the seeds with spicy seeds or other spices, and there are even contraptions that can help you figure out what could pull down a bird feeder and prevent it.

Whatever you do, just remember not to harm these little squirrels that are just looking for the food source that they need.

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