If you set up a bird feeder in your yard, you will probably find that the free food attracts other animals, namely squirrels. The creatures can be determined and acrobatic when they want to get at seeds. Squirrels can jump 10 feet from a tree or rooftop or five feet from the ground to get at a bird feeder. If this is a problem for you, here are some strategies to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder.
Don’t hang a bird feeder on a tree branch because that will make it much too easy for squirrels to get to it. It is best to set up a vertical pole and put a wraparound baffle on the pole to prevent squirrels from climbing it. Make sure the baffle is high enough that the squirrels cannot jump over it. Use a baffle above a hanging feeder and below a post-mounted feeder at least four feet off the ground. You can also try one of several types of bird feeders specifically designed to deter squirrels. Install your feeders away from a roof, railing, deck, or anything else that squirrels could use as a jumping off point.
If squirrels are able to get past a baffle and get to your bird feeder, another option is to place a cage around it. Make sure it is large enough to keep squirrels out but it is possible for birds to get in.
Some people use a device called Twirl a Squirrel that attaches to a bird feeder and uses three D batteries. If a squirrel tries to eat from a bird feeder, it begins to spin, which encourages the squirrel to jump off.
A roller feeder has a stationary square hopper with a rotating outer shell. If a squirrel jumps on the outer shell, its weight makes it turn, which encourages the squirrel to jump down.
Some people put out seed mixed with hot sauce or cayenne pepper. Birds will eat it, but squirrels will not. Wildlife experts advise against doing this because it is not known what types of longterm effects this could have on birds’ health. Hot sauce and cayenne pepper can also cause problems for humans if they get those substances on their hands and then touch their eyes.