This is a question commonly asked by our customers. Squirrels can be known to clean out a bird feeder in a day, if not hours. The culprit in our region is the Eastern Gray Squirrel. This squirrel has two colour phases: gray and black. The gray and black are found in Ontario, Quebec, southern New Brunswick, and the northern US. You won’t find any black squirrels in the southern states.
There are a few ways you can deter squirrels from cleaning out all of the seed you purchased for the birds… not squirrels. The first option would be to purchase a squirrel-proof feeder. Brome Bird Care offers seven different models of Squirrel Busters to choose from. Five are designed to hold seed mixes or sunflower seeds, one specifically for peanut halves and the other for nyjer seed or a finch seed mix.
Droll Yankees also have four large capacity squirrel- proof feeders which hold 5 lbs of seed. We also carry house-shaped and caged feeders that are squirrel resistant. These deter the Eastern Gray Squirrel, but a determined Red Squirrel can get into a caged feeder without too much effort. They only weigh 7-8.8 ounces whereas the Eastern Gray weighs 1.5 lbs. There are tension adjustments on the house-shaped feeders as well as three models of the Squirrel Busters which can hinder the red squirrels.
Placement of these feeders is also very important. Squirrels can jump 8 to 10 feet, and are also agile enough to hold onto a pole or bracket with their back legs and reach with their arms to pull feeders towards them. Keeping that in mind, it is necessary to make sure the feeder is hung in a location that won’t allow them to do this.
Squirrel baffles are another option you can use. We have several styles depending on your backyard needs. Baffles can be hung from a tree branch to place feeders under, or attached to a 1/2 to 2 inch pole, or 4×4 post. If a pole or post baffle is best for you, positioning will play a factor for success. They must be placed away from anything a squirrel can jump from, be it a tree, deck, fence or shed.
Adding a cage to an existing feeder is another option depending on the size. Squirrel-proof caged suet feeders and upside-down suet feeders will also keep the gray squirrel at bay.
If you haven’t got a suet cage or feeder designed to discourage squirrels, you can try our squirrel-proof suet or squirrel-proof seed which contains capsaicin. They may find this a little spicy for their liking. Safflower is also a seed squirrels dislike. This seed should be offered in a hopper style feeder to encourage Cardinals, House and Purple Finches, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Mourning Doves. I must warn you that chipmunks like safflower… Squirrels also avoid feeders containing nyjer seed, and your Goldfinches will be happy. I hope these suggestions will help you enjoy more birds, and less squirrels.
Author – Jane Paradis