Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why you want to make bird feeders squirrel proof

Does your backyard bird feeder attract more squirrels than birds?  Squirrels are persistent and almost anyone who has installed a backyard bird feeder has soon realized that squirrels are smarter than they thought!  Installing squirrel proof bird feeders is just one way to stop squirrels from eating your bird seed. 

There are some options available to make squirrel proof bird feeders. Using a bird feeder pole is certainly one of those, but the pole should also be properly positioned. If you have a large enough area, try to place the bird feeder approximately 10 feet or more away from the nearest tree. Although this is not going to keep all of the squirrels away, it may help to cut down on any squirrels jumping to the feeder from a higher location.

Another thing that many people try in order to make their bird feeders squirrel proof is to hang them from a line that is suspended between two different poles or trees. This is something that can work for a while, but squirrels are rather clever and some of the more brazen of these animals will end up finding a way to get to the feeder eventually. I can tell you that there are many people who love birdwatching who have been disappointed at looking out the window and seeing a squirrel dangling from a line, eating all the feed out of the feeder. Putting corn out on squirrel feeders doesn't effectively distract them, either.
One other option that you have available to you is to buy a bird feeder that was built in order to be squirrel proof. A few of these models are quite effective at keeping the squirrels away. This is one way for you to make all of your bird feeders squirrel proof and to enjoy the hobby without their interference.  Two companies that make the most popular bird feeders like this are Brome Bird Care and Droll Yankees.
A finch perched at a Squirrel Buster Plus feeder from Brome Bird Care.
A finch perched at a Squirrel Buster Plus feeder from Brome Bird Care.

Squirrel Buster Plus

One of the most popular squirrel proof bird feeders is the Squirrel Buster Plus from Brome Bird Care, pictured above with a cardinal ring installed. This model relies on a weight sensor to detect if a squirrel has descended onto the feeder. When the weight sensor is tripped, the feeder ports close to block access to bird seed. It is long enough that a squirrel attempting to hang from the top will be unable to reach the ports.
Red-bellied woodpecker visiting the Yankee Flipper bird feeder from Droll Yankees.
Red-bellied woodpecker visiting the Yankee Flipper bird feeder from Droll Yankees.

Yankee Flipper bird feeder

Droll Yankees knows how to make bird feeders squirrel proof! The Yankee Flipper bird feeder (pictured above) is one of the best on the market. This model also relies on a weight-sensitive mechanism to detect the presence of a squirrel. When a squirrel is detected, the lower part of the feeder spins to gently flip the squirrel off without harming it. An advantage of a spinning design like this is that it is hard for the squirrel to get a grip on the feeder in any way to shake it back and forth to get seeds out.

For OutdoorMama's Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders page click here.

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