You are not alone!
One of the many joys of living in the Midwest is the beauty and the wide variety of birds we can see from our own backyard. As I sit here and write this blog, the birds surround me with their colors and their music!
Oh wait – a slight interruption. There is a squirrel feasting at one of my many birdfeeders. Do I send out the dogs?! Do I yell and throw something?
We all enjoy and treasure the wildlife around us but sometimes the squirrels test our patience. So here are some tips to keep your birdfeeders for the birds:
1. Birdfeeders – You know I am going there so here goes: Invest in a high-quality, proven squirrel-proof birdfeeders! The top-of-the-line squirrel proof feeders like Droll Yankee, or Brome. They provide flipper feeders, motorized feeders and trap door feeders all designed to keep pesky squirrels out! Not only are these feeders effective they provide hours of entertainment as you watch the squirrels being spun off the feeder (note: no harm to the squirrel) or out tricked by their clever designs. The other advantage is these feeders often come with a bullet proof warranty.
Other options for bird feeders would be:
Pole feeders – Squirrels can jump up to 3 feet horizontally so place the pole 12 ft away from a tree or structure. As squirrels can be very ingenious, they will still try to get to the feeder so you may need a baffle to provide a barrier or put some Crisco on the pole and let the fun begin! Then all you will need to add is a nice baffle to prevent them from climbing up the pole.
Caged feeders – These bird feeders are designed to allow smaller birds in to feed while keeping squirrels and bigger more menacing birds out.
Weight activated feeders – These types of feeders are very practical and effective. Since squirrels weighs more than birds, as soon as the squirrel gets close to the feeding port and lever is activated the port Is shut.
2. Location, location, location! As I stated earlier, squirrels are quite athletic! If possible, place your feeder 12 feet away from a tree or fence. You might want to also consider a baffle to double down on your squirrel deterrent.
3. Time for a diet! Although it appears squirrels have an appetite for almost everything, this is not the case. Instead of traditional bird feed mix, try safflower seeds. Not only do squirrels not like safflower nor do grackles, but your other backyard birds, such as cardinals, nuthatches, song sparrows, etc. love this feed!
Nyjer seed is another seed that squirrels will not touch, so your finch feeders will be free of squirrel invasion.
4. When all else fails, just give in! I know, I know you want to feed the birds and not the squirrels, but maybe we can feed them on the cheap stuff so they can leave the nice seed for the birds. Try feeding them corn or a cheaper Squirrel mix. When you do this place it in an easy location for them to get to that is far away from the feeder. This will teach them to look away from your feeder for some easy food. Out of sight, out of mind!