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How to Keep Squirrels OFF Bird Feeders (8 Proven Ways)

Are you looking for a way to keep your bird feeders safe from pesky squirrels? As an avid naturalist who has studied squirrels all over the world, I can tell you that there are several proven strategies to protect bird feeders from these opportunistic critters. In this article, I will share 8 of my top tips for how to keep squirrels off bird feeders. All of these methods have been tested and verified, so rest assured that you’ll be able to successfully protect your feathered friends’ food sources.

Keeping squirrels away from bird feeders can be a difficult task. One of the most effective options is to invest in squirrel-proof bird feeders. These special feeders have features such as weight-sensitive perches that only allow birds of a certain size and weight to access the food, chew-resistant materials, and spinning tops that spin when larger animals attempt to access the food. Other ideas include placing the birdfeeder outside of a squirrel’s jumping range, using cayenne pepper or oils on birdseed, and keeping the area around the feeder clean of dropped seed.

How to Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders

With the right strategies and some ingenuity, you can protect your bird feeder from being taken over by squirrels. From investing in squirrel-proof bird feeders to offering foods squirrels don’t like, there are many techniques you can use to keep squirrels away from your bird seed.

1. Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder Setup

To keep your feathered friends well-fed, take the necessary steps to protect their food supply. Start by investing in a squirrel-proof bird feeder setup like the one below:

Best Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

This includes a ready-to-install pole with a baffle integrated into it, made of smooth metal and placed at least 6 feet off the ground so it’s out of reach for any launch pads nearby (like trees or bushes). With this setup, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing your feathered friends can eat with peace of mind.

In addition to the pole, there are three main types of squirrel-proof feeders on the market: weight sensitive, cages, and battery-powered spinning feeders. Weight sensitive feeders only allow birds of a specific size and weight to access the seed. Cages completely encase the food, keeping larger animals such as squirrels away from it. And finally, battery-powered spinning feeders will spin when larger animals attempt to access them (these require batteries). The Sailor Metal Bird Feeder is one example of an excellent weather resistant option.

Option 1: Buy a Squirrel-Proof Pole

To keep hungry squirrels away from your bird feeders, purchase a squirrel-proof pole setup. Some kits include a sturdy metal pole with a baffle or guard to cover the bird feeder. The setup also allows you to adjust the height of the feeder, making it harder for squirrels to reach. It’s also easy to install, requiring minimal tools and effort!

Here’s the best squirrel-proof poles for your bird feeders:

The Best Squirrel-Proof Poles

Option 2: Modify Your Existing Pole with Baffles

Installing baffles is a great way to protect your existing pole-mounted bird feeder. Baffles are designed to make it hard for squirrels to climb the pole and access the feeder. Place the baffle at least three feet high and ten feet away from where squirrels can reach.

The Best Squirrel-Proof Baffles

2. Place Your Bird Feeders Out of Reach of Squirrels

Another simple technique for fending off pesky rodents is to ensure that your poles are tall enough so they’re out of reach for large jumping rodents. A full-grown adult grey squirrel can typically jump up 5 feet in the air, 10 feet across and if their targets are higher than 10 feet they will just give up and walk away.

To make sure that they won’t be able to climb up your poles and get access to your delicious bird seed consider placing your poles in areas where there are no branches or nearby objects that could act as stepping stones for these small predators. You should also make sure that whatever material you choose for your pole won’t let them easily grip with their sharp claws since plastic or other materials may be slippery enough for them.

3. Invest in a Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

Style #1: Weight Sensitive

Squirrels can be a nuisance for backyard bird feeders. Investing in a weight sensitive squirrel-proof bird feeder is an effective way to keep them away from seed, nuts and suet. These feeders hold up to the weight of birds but when a squirrel jumps on it, the perch shuts down, denying access to your precious food!

Best Weight Activated Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

Style #2: Cages

Cages are an effective way to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and offer protection with their wire mesh design. Make sure to choose the right size cage that will fit snugly around the bird feeder to ensure maximum protection. It’s best to have the cage installed on a stationary pole so that squirrels won’t be able to climb onto it. Be sure to check that the cage door is always closed to prevent any four-legged intruders!

Best Cage Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

Style #3: Battery-Powered Feeders That Spin

Battery-powered feeders are an innovative and effective way to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders. These feeders spin at a set speed, forcing squirrels off the perch when they attempt to eat the food. This type of deterrent requires no additional maintenance, as the battery lasts several months with only occasional replacements.

Best Spinning Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

When deciding between battery-powered feeders, consider the spinning speed and size of the feeder. Faster spinning will be more effective against larger squirrels, while smaller units may work better against smaller rodents. If you opt for a larger size, it’s recommended that you select one with adjustable speeds for greater control over your birds’ access to the food.

4. Offer Foods Squirrels Don’t Like

Keep squirrels out of your bird feeder by offering them food they won’t eat. Squirrels simply can’t digest cellulose, so opt for snacks with more protein, carbs and fats – like fruits, vegetables, beans, poultry and grains.

Foods Squirrels Don’t Enjoy Eating:

  • Fruits ( Apples, Bananas )
  • Vegetables ( Carrots, Broccoli )
  • Beans
  • Poultry
  • Whole Grains ( Barley Oats )

5. Keep Squirrels Away With Hot Peppers!

Another way you can protect your bird feeders from the pesky critters is to use hot pepper. Whether it’s cayenne or hot chili pepper flakes — any variety of hot pepper will keep the squirrels away. If you grow peppers at home you can dry them and then use their flakes on birdseed.

Hot Pepper Sunflower Seeds:

  1. Buy high-quality hot pepper sunflower seeds.
  2. Sprinkle some flakes on top of the material in your bird feeder.
  3. Add some extra on areas where squirrels are likely to keep away.

However, some squirrels may still eat your seeds, regardless of the hot pepper taste.

6. Feed Squirrels at a Separate Feeder

If you want to keep birds near your home while discouraging rodents, consider setting up a designated feeder just for them! Offering treats like sunflower seeds and corn kernels will give the squirrels something they love, while still allowing you to enjoy the other animals, such as chipmunks or vibrant birds. It’s important to put the squirrel feeder far enough away from the bird feeders so that they don’t cross paths.

However, be prepared for visits from other hungry animals that were attracted to the food designed for your squirrel guests too!

7. Have Fun With Your Squirrels!

Enhance your animal knowledge and have fun at the same time by learning to identify the personalities of local wildlife! Put a twist on traditional snack time by bringing healthy snacks out when you observe animals in your area. Just make sure you avoid feeding them, as this can disrupt their natural behavior and potentially create issues with wildlife dependence on humans!

Tips for Enjoying Squirrels from a Distance:

  • Observe them up close with binoculars or a spotting scope.
  • Take pictures of the squirrels with a long telephoto lens or via remote control camera traps.
  • Learn about the different species of squirrel that live locally.

8. Don’t Harm Squirrels

Keeping pesky critters away from your birdfeeders doesn’t have to involve taking drastic measures. Instead, look into more humane options such as motion detection devices or feeder baffles that provide a more lasting and sustainable solution. After all, no one wants to hurt these wild animals for something like food! Take some extra steps now and it will ensure you and your feathered friends are getting the most out of feeding time later.

Things to Avoid When Trying to Discourage Squirrels:

  • Injuring the animal or killing it with poisons or traps.
  • Overfeeding – this creates dependency and leads to nuisance problems when people stop feeding them.
  • Using loud noises or bright lights which may scare off birds and other animals along with the squirrels.
  • Letting cats/dogs roam freely around bird feeders as this increases predation risks for birds.


Is WD 40 effective for deterring squirrels from an area?

WD-40 is an effective deterrent for many pests, including squirrels. The Multi-Use Product’s oil-based formula helps to repel the pests, preventing them from climbing up poles or other surfaces. Additionally, it can be sprayed around areas where squirrels are known to visit, creating a barrier that may keep them away.

Does WD-40 keep animals away?

WD-40 Multi-Use Product can be used to keep animals away. It has a intense smell which is unpleasant for various creatures, making it an effective repellent for animals such as pigeons and other climbers like cats. WD-40 Multi-Use Product therefore provides an efficient solution for preventing animals from climbing or gathering around certain places.

Can WD-40 be used to keep rats away?

WD-40 is an effective repellent for pests such as pigeons, rats and other animals. It works by creating a slippery surface that is unpleasant to the rodent‘s feet which prevents them from climbing up poles or walls. Although it may help deter rats, it is not specifically designed to be used against them and is not guaranteed to completely prevent their encroachment.


With the help of these 8 tips, you can effectively keep pesky squirrels away from your bird feeders and have a happy little flock of birds around your home. Invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder, place it at a safe distance where they cannot jump to and make sure to keep area free of dropped seed. You can even sprinkle cayenne pepper or oils on the birdseed, so that the squirrels will stay away. Above all, with some understanding and creativity, you can find multiple ways to effectively deter squirrels from reaching your bird feeders.

Ultimately, there are several ways to protect your bird feeders from aggressive squirrels. Staying vigilant and following these 8 tips is essential for keeping the birds in your backyard safe from getting robbed by hungry critters. Utilizing methods such as investing in squirrel-proof bird feeders, using cayenne pepper and oils, or placing the feeder out of jumping range are all great options for how to keep squirrels off bird feeders. So don’t let your feathered friends go without food and follow this guide!

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