How to : Squirrel Proof Your Feeders

Photo by Laurie Campbell

Photo by Laurie Campbell

As human beings we have made some stunning progress and achieved amazing things, the pyramids, travelling to the stars and even the internet are just a few examples on how brilliant we can be, but, on the other hand we are still often, and even continually undermined by the humble squirrel! Surely not!?…… Well sadly yes, this is quite often the case; we put our feeders in seemingly impossible positions for anything to reach except those who can fly and yet still within a few minutes, hours or days our local squirrels seem to have mastered some new technique whereby they can now smugly chew through our latest feeder purchase and devour the food within, often adding insult to injury by digging up our lawns to hide some for later!

I should perhaps clarify that I have nothing against squirrels and enjoy watching their acrobatics, agility and intelligence greatly, however there are times when it is very frustrating and indeed costly when feeders are ritually destroyed and emptied of food in minutes.

We have all seen the footage on the television of these amazing animals conquering assault courses will flippant ease and it is no surprise that there is now a whole array of products available that will help to keep your bird feeders for the birds.

Cost effective and easy to make squirrel/jackdaw proof feeder.

Photo by Matt Bell

Photo by Matt Bell

The downside of these products is that they are often very costly. Recently I spoke to a local birder who had come up with a very cheap and easy to install solution which he said had been working very well for him, he had had problems with not only squirrels but also Jackdaws that were emptying feeders within minutes of them being refilled.

Now though, not only were the feeders now well protected from the squirrels but the ‘squirrel shield’ also provided a reasonable measure of protection to the birds from predators when they were feeding.

The very simple solution used was to purchase 2 semi-circular metal hanging baskets from a local discount store and some strong garden wire. The hanging baskets can be fastened together securely at the top with the feeder hook either threaded through the bars or included in the wire loop, alternatively for easy refilling it can be placed on a hook inside the hanging baskets. Care should be taken that any sharp ends are either blunted or flattened as much as possible against the basket frames to prevent any injuries. As a final step the bottom of the baskets will need to be sealed with either another wire loop or twine (unless you have super persistent squirrels!). You will then have a guard around your feeder that will allow easy access for the smaller garden birds but will prevent squirrels and larger birds from emptying your feeders before you are even back inside the house! The total cost for the hanging baskets and strong wire was less than £3 and assembly only takes a few minutes so its well worth the effort.

Obviously a wide array of fastening devices can be used and you will of course wish to ensure that the device allows easy access for refilling although you will hopefully not have to refill them quite as often now Wink

Thanks to Matt Bell for the information and photo featured on the page. Matt is a very keen birder and an active member of Calderdale Birds.