Squirrel Proof Feeders
Both red and grey squirrels like nothing better than to raid your bird feeders. They not only steal the food from the birds you hope to attract, they make a mess of your garden as well! Luckily, Perky-Pet®’s squirrel-proof bird feeders are now available in the UK. Take a look at our wide selection of caged, baffled and weight-activated bird feeders below.
Which Perky-Pet® Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder is right for you?
Squirrels don’t just steal the seeds from your birdfeeders and leave a mess behind, they actively drive birds away from what they see as ‘their’ territory. One of the best ways to get rid of a squirrel problem safely and humanely (and without harming the squirrels) is to make the bird feeders squirrel-proof. Whilst they are clever, there are limits to what squirrels can accomplish. Once they realise the free lunch is over, they’ll seek out new sources of food on their own.
But what kind of squirrel-proof feeder is right for your garden? Consider the questions below.
- How do squirrel-proof and squirrel-resistant bird feeders actually help?
- The primary advantage is that the squirrels will stop eating the seeds, and you will not have to refill the feeder anywhere near as often. Most of these feeders also keep the squirrels away from the feeder entirely, encouraging more birds to visit and to stay longer each time. As the squirrels will eventually give up and move off, your garden will once again be a safe haven for the birds you meant to attract in the first place.
- Do you need a squirrel-proof feeder, or a squirrel-resistant one?
- Squirrel-proof feeders are exactly that. They are simply impossible for squirrels to raid. As you can imagine, these are some of our most popular models.
- Squirrel-resistant feeders are not impossible for a very clever squirrel to raid, but are still very challenging, and generally not worth the effort except when
feeding opportunities are very lean for the local squirrels.
- Both types of anti-squirrel feeders are designed to resist the damage squirrels can do breaking into normal bird feeders, and are quite durable overall.
- What makes it an anti-squirrel bird feeder, then?
- There are several different ways to make a feeder difficult for squirrels to raid. Some are weight-activated, meaning that once something heavier than a bird gets near the feeding port they close up tightly, or the perch itself collapses temporarily. Others are ‘baffled’, meaning that they have barriers squirrels have great difficulty crossing, but birds can bypass easily. Still other types are enclosed in a cage that has a mesh too fine for squirrels to enter, but still allows access to smaller birds.
- Other feeders are termed ‘squirrel resistant’ because they are made fully or partially of metal that the squirrels can’t gnaw through and ruin.
- There are also quite a few accessories that can be added to new or existing bird feeders to make them more squirrel-proof.
- Which birds do you want to feed, and see in your garden?
- This might be the most important question, as certain feeders won’t work with some kinds of feed, and others will keep certain birds out as well.
- In particular, caged feeders will keep out the largest birds as well as squirrels. Then again, if you want to discourage pigeons, rooks and jackdaws from feeding, this might be an advantage. Also, feeders with a larger number of perches will allow many birds to feed at once, which is particularly important of your desired birds travel in flocks.
- How much see can the feeder hold?
- This will affect how often you will need to refill the feeder in order to keep the birds coming back – they will return more often to what they see as a reliable source of food than they will to a feeder that is often empty. An advantage of squirrel-proof feeders is that keeping the much larger squirrels out will make the seed last much longer between refills.
- If you are not sure how much capacity you’ll need, you might want to start with a smaller feeder and upgrade later, once you have more regular visitors.
- What about feeder placement – where will it go?
- Different feeders will work better in different locations. If you want to place it in an open area away from trees (which is a good way to keep squirrels from dropping down onto it from above), you’ll need one that mounts on a pole or feeder station.
- Another important factor is visibility. You’ll want to be able to see the birds that come to visit, and watching from inside through a window is much less likely to frighten the birds away.
- Does the feeder have any special features?
- Being squirrel-proof is important, but there are many other important features you may need. You might prefer one with a seed-tray underneath which will keep waste off the ground and preserve quite a bit of spilled birdseed. You might want a feeder with a clear plastic cover which will protect the birds from wind and rain as they feed, and also makes it more difficult for squirrels to approach from above. Other feeders are quite decorative, and will add to the beauty of your garden.
Different squirrel-proof feeder designs
There are several ways to keep squirrels out of your feeder, or to prevent them from damaging it if they do manage to access it:
- Weight-Activated Feeders – One of the most efficient ways to squirrel-proof a feeder is to ensure that smaller birds can perch and feed normally, but heavier squirrels will cause it to collapse or close. This can be achieved in several different ways:
- A Weight-Activated Perch or Bar
- When a squirrel mounts the feeding perch, its weight drags the bar down and the feeding ports close securely, keeping the seeds safe.
- A Weight-Activated Base
- Similar to the design above, the squirrel’s weight on the base caused the entire feeder to tip, closing the feeding ports in the process and making sure the squirrel can neither balance nor feed.
- A Weight-Activated Cage
- A cage surrounds the feeder, and is the only purchase or perch available. The squirrel’s weight drags the entire cage down, again closing the feeding ports.
- A Collapsible Perch: Here, the only way for an animal to feed is to sit on the perch. The squirrel’s weight causes it to collapse, dropping the raider harmlessly to the ground.
- Baffled Feeders – These squirrel-proof feeders feature a domed baffle that squirrels cannot grip with their claws. When they drop down from above, they slide off the baffle and fall harmlessly to the ground.
- Caged Feeders – These squirrel-resistant feeders are surrounded by a sturdy wire barrier that keeps squirrels away from the seed or feeding ports. The gaps between wires are quite sufficient for smaller birds but far too small for squirrels and completely impervious to gnawing.
- Metal Feeders – These feeders are either entirely metal or have metal feeding ports or other metal parts. This does not prevent squirrels from accessing the feeder or stealing the seeds, but it does prevent them from gnawing through the feeder to gorge themselves, destroying it and spilling the seed everywhere.
- Other squirrel-proofing accessories such as poles or baffles can be added to most of these feeders as well.
Different Styles of Squirrel-Proof Feeder
Form is sometimes just as important as function, after all. Most of the feeder types above come in several different styles, allowing you to choose the most effective anti-squirrel technology yet preserve the unique look of your garden.
- Decorative Feeders – Squirrel-proof and squirrel-resistant bird feeders come in a variety of colours and designs. This lets you choose one that blends discreetly into your garden or one with decorative elements that really stands out.
- Tube Feeders – Tube-type feeders have the advantage of being easy to clean, refill and care for. Squirrels also have a difficult time climbing the smooth cylindrical body. They generally feature many perches arranged on all sides, and can be viewed from all angles. Some feature multiple tubes which cater to different sized birds or offer different feed types.
- Platform Feeders – Platform-type squirrel-proof bird feeders feature a metal base covered with wire gratings that keep squirrels out. Some also feature built-in baffles for added protection.
- Hopper Feeders – Also called ‘house feeders’, hopper-type feeders can be made squirrel proof by using collapsible or weight-sensitive perches, which prevent access to heavier animals like squirrels and crows.
- Pole Mounted Feeders – Feeders mounted on poles or feeder stations can be placed nearly anywhere, which is key to keeping them safe from squirrels. They cannot drop down from above, nor can they scale the slick metal pole. So long as the feeder is located at least 2 metres above the ground and 3 metres away from trees or tall structures, it should be safe.
Additional methods of squirrel-proofing your bird feeder
If you do not wish to purchase a purpose-built squirrel-proof feeder, you can often make any type of feeder effectively squirrel-proof by using accessories, squirrel-proof feed types or repellents.
- Squirrel-Proof Baffles – These can be added to nearly any bird feeder, and help to prevent squirrels from accessing it from above. They can find no purchase on the domed baffle, falling to the ground without injury.
- Pole Baffles – Certain poles can be scaled. If your pole is wooden or too close to the ground, you might need a pole-baffle to prevent squirrels from climbing up to your feeder.
- Squirrel-Proof Feed – Squirrels love many common types of birdseed, especially sunflower seeds or dried maize. Nonetheless, there are seed types that they do not find nearly as attractive or cannot eat at all:
- Niger seed: Loved by goldfinches and siskin, but it is generally too small for squirrels to bother with.
- Millet: Millet attracts house sparrows, finches and collared doves.
- Hot Pepper: Adding hot pepper to common birdseed is a very effective way to squirrel-proof it. Birds cannot taste hot pepper at all, but squirrels hate it and quickly come to avoid the feeder.
- Squirrel Repellents – Applying a squirrel repellent to your bird feeder can often solve a squirrel problem right away. Again, Squirrels hate the smell and taste of hot pepper, so a capsaicin-containing spray will keep them away without affecting the birds at all.