How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders?

Eventually, every bird feeder desires to understand how to keep squirrels away from the bird feeders. Whether you like it or not, you will have to interact with these creatures. They may take the bird food, and you could lose all you have worked for to build your small bird sanctuary.

As a result, you must generate ideas quickly and efficiently!

This article will teach you how to efficiently keep squirrels away from bird feeders using basic strategies and methods.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders?

1. Install a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

suet feeder

This is the primary step you must take to keep squirrels apart from the bird feeders. However, you must build the proper type of bird feeder to safeguard it against squirrel attacks.

Below are a few of the top squirrel-safe bird feeders.

Weight-sensitive bird feeders include a weight-sensitive system that immediately covers the seed inlet when a squirrel steps on it. As the squirrel left, the port reopened. These are ideal for dangling on trees.

Since they’re not hung from a tree, pole-mounted bird feeders seem ideal. Alternatively, it places its hands on a pole, making it difficult for squirrels to access the bird’s food. They are quite basic in design; however, they will require a pole to be hung.

Caged feeders are also handy since a steel chew-resistant fence encircles the feeder. They are also not light weighted, but they are remarkably successful in keeping squirrels away from the bird food.

2. Location of Feeder is the Secret Key

bird feeder

After deciding on the best squirrel-proof bird feeder, you must decide where to put it.

Squirrels will not even attempt to access it if you arrange it correctly. The 5-7-9 Rule is something that you must remember.

This Rule indicates the following:

  • Squirrels can only jump up to 5 feet above the ground.
  • They are unable to jump well over 7 feet from one spot to the other.
  • They are also hesitant to climb onto a feeder from a height of far more than 9 feet.

You must set the bird feeder while bearing all those numbers in mind, and you will be able to provide for a significant number of squirrels without attempting something else.

It would be best if you also understood that squirrels could jump 10 feet horizontally. Set your feeder at least 10 feet away from nearby barriers or trees to stop them from attempting to make this leap.

If you do not have a location to put your feeders in this manner, stretch a line as tall as you can across two points (either trees or walls).

Squirrels might have a hard time moving on a bouncing string and will struggle to leap towards the feeders.

3. Offer Foods that Squirrels Don’t Like

There aren’t many varieties of birdseed that squirrels do not even appreciate. However, there are several that can be used efficiently.

Nyjer seeds don’t appear on the diet of squirrels; however, Goldfinches adore them.

Squirrels dislike safflower seeds as well. However, many cardinals, finches, titmice, and chickadees like eating them. PS: Grackles and starlings dislike these seeds as well.

Because White Proso Millet is too little for squirrels, they do not have any appetite for it. On the other hand, doves, juncos, and sparrows enjoy them.

Hot peppers can also be used in the bird feeder. Peppers contain capsaicin, which renders them hot and unpleasant on the tongue (unless you prefer spicy food!).

But here’s the catch: capsaicin only affects mammals like squirrels. It is spicy enough for birds to consume the whole day. As a result, you may incorporate it into your bird feeder.

4. Use a Separate Decoy (Squirrel Feeder)

decoy for squirrels

Squirrels are simply creatures attempting to reach a source of food. It is ingrained in their nature, as it is in all other species, including humans. It is not if they’re pests attempting to infest your goods.

You may prevent them from obtaining the meal and frightening the bird away by treating them with a squirrel feeder designed specifically for them.

However, making it harder for them to reach the bird feeder, making it easier for them to reach their own feeder. Include some low-cost foods they enjoy, such as sunflower seeds or maize.

If you can’t defeat them, join them; therefore, attempt to feed them apart from the bird feeders therefore, they don’t consider going through all the trouble of reaching for something that isn’t theirs.

5. Spice It Up


As previously said, you may change things up for the squirrels by including spicy peppers within the bird feeder. Aside from that, peppers may be used as insect repellant. Pepper is an excellent squirrel repellent.

Right on your feeders, you may apply a squirrel repellent spray such as Critter Ridder.

This will permanently repel squirrels away from the feed. Only squirrels would be affected by this spray, while birds would be unaffected.

6. Install a Squirrel-Proof Feeder Pole

If your location does not already have a pole for the bird feeder, you should purchase one. Try using a bird feeder pole that’s also particularly intended to discourage squirrels.

The coating of these poles is so slick that squirrels cannot easily hold them while climbing. Such poles also come with a pole baffler or a spring-loaded baffler to hold squirrels at bay.

With this type of pole, you may easily solve the majority of squirrel-related issues. Since they can’t reach the feeder, they have had to eat off the floor. You may purchase a squirrel-repelling pole.

These poles are spring-loaded, making it difficult for squirrels to climb. Such poles also have baffles, which make it much more difficult for them to access the bird feeders.

7. Install a Squirrel Baffle

squirrel baffle

Putting a squirrel baffle would be another technique for keeping squirrels away from the bird seed. This baffle is a polymer item with a dome or pole form that must be attached directly under the feeder, depending on the kind.

The curving barrier will make it more challenging for squirrels to obtain the bird seed. You may install these smooth squirrel barriers, which are available in plastic or metal, beneath or above your feeder.

To avoid vermin from crawling around the baffles, design them between 15 and 18 inches long and broad.

When a squirrel mounts these barriers, they tilt or twist and become off-balance, preventing access to the feeder. Aside from purchasing a new squirrel-resistant pole, you may also add a baffle to your current pole. A baffle can be purchased separately for such a reason.

It is available in two varieties. The first is a torpedo baffle, while the second is a wrap-around baffle. These two baffles may be attached beneath the feeder. But maintain it tall enough (at least 5 ft) so they can’t jump over it to get to the feeder.

8. Grease the Feeder Pole

Another effective option is to grease the pole, which simply means that you may render the surface greasy for the squirrels, preventing them from climbing. For this, wrap your pole using plastic multilayer tubing.

However, lubricating the pole with oil, such as mustard oil, would make it difficult for them to hold the pole and climb due to it being so slippery.

However, please remember that no additional chemicals should be used to make the poles greasy. Use no petroleum jelly, adhesive, grease, or anything else that is sticky.

The use of such things will make it more difficult for squirrels to keep them away from their fur, and they could even shed their fur entirely.

This might be quite difficult for them throughout the winter. These compounds can be harmful to them if they consume while grooming.

9. Keep the Ground Clean

Maintain a neat and tidy environment around your bird feeder. You must clean up any trash or scattered seeds from the floor below. These are the most likely to entice squirrels.

Cleaning it up will help ensure that the birds do not consume rotting or infected seeds, which are harmful to them.

Squirrels forage for nuts on the soil surface, and all these dropped seeds may be enticing squirrels, who will make every effort to access the feeders once they arrive.

As a result, keep the ground beneath your feeders clean to prevent raccoons and rats. Install a big tray to the pole underneath the feeder to collect all the dropping seeds.

10. Use a Slinky


Add some slinky if you wish to have a little fun having feeder-approaching squirrels. Put an iron slinky on your feeder if it’s mounted on a pole.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch as a squirrel actually tries to climb the pole, and the slinky fails miserably. If you set the slink too close to the ground, the squirrels may leap across it to get to the feeder.

It should not even be too close to the ground. It should be at least 2-3 feet tall to be efficient. Let the slinky hang but don’t bring it all way down to the ground. Allow it no access to the earth. Let them climb the pole before getting to the slinky.

This will cause them to leap quite swiftly. If your feeder is near a wall or a tree, you should fence it and make it more difficult for the squirrel to get it from similar locations. Instead, your slinky will deteriorate to the point that it is no longer useful.

Check out this article on How to Get Rid of Starlings?


Ensure that you take all required precautions to prevent squirrels away from the bird feeder. You can repel them using a variety of methods and instruments.

However, keep in mind that you do not have to harm the squirrels throughout the operation. They are just creatures attempting to eat the accessible food supply.

Do not attempt to treat them as if they were pests. With the adjacent bird show, you could be a little more imaginative and make the squirrels an element of your amusement.

These creatures are tenacious and inquisitive, and you may harness their natural inclinations for fun without harming them.


What else can I put on bird seed to deter squirrels?

Before you set out the bird feeders, please treat them with chili powder or a related spice. Birds can happily consume the seeds, however, squirrels might avoid it due to the heat. Therefore, you must use the spice periodically.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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