I bought my first of two Squirrel Buster Plus feeders (Brome Bird Feeders on Amazon) last summer. It is a pricey feeder even if you can get it on sale, which I did. But I reasoned that if I could keep the squirrels out of the sunflower hearts, I’d easily make back my investment in savings on birdseed purchases.
The cool thing about this feeder that as long as you follow the placement advice that comes with the feeder (mostly allowing 18” all around for clearance), the squirrels will be defeated. It works by an adjustable weight-activated mechanism. When something heavier than how you’ve set it, puts their weight on the perches, the outer sleeve of the feeder slides down, covering the food access holes. The squirrel or heavier bird can sit there, but they can’t get to the food.
This feeder quickly became a favorite with the birds in my yard. In particular, the American Goldfinches, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouses and White-Breasted Nuthatches love it. It became so popular, that I quickly purchased a second, which also became mobbed. The squirrels left these feeders completely alone. I never even saw a squirrel try them . . . until the weather turned really cold.
For the past week or so, the squirrels have begun an all-out assault on all of the feeders, even these. So far, despite a lot of effort, they haven’t succeeded in breaching these feeders. Mine are hung from tree limbs using long shepherd’s hooks and are placed so that there are no branches or other surfaces that the squirrels could hang from to get to them from the side without tripping the mechanism.
Just recently though, they’ve taken to climbing down the shepherd’s hook (a pretty awesome skill when you consider how thin and curved and slippery it seems) to get to the top of the feeder. The top lid is metal, so it doesn’t seem likely that they will be able to chew through it. But I do worry about the plastic tube. This week I’ve been filling the tube only half full so that there isn’t seed right near the top where they can hang to tempt them to start chewing there.
I went to my local bird store (Mother Natures) and talked with the knowledgeable woman who works there about baffles. She assured me that these feeders have a lifetime guarantee and that they will repair any structural damage a squirrel might inflict. She felt that the only reason to need a baffle is if you are bothered by the cosmetic damage that might result in the squirrel’s efforts to get into the feeder, as that isn’t covered.
I thought about it, but I really want to discourage the squirrels from hanging on the feeder at all, which spooks the birds. And it seems wasteful to have to replace parts, even if it doesn’t cost me anything personally, if there is a way to avoid damage in the first place? So I purchased a large metal baffle (Evra galvanized steel) that reminds me of a green metal parasol. Being metal, the squirrels won’t be able to chew through it and the size of it should keep them off of the feeder hanging below it . . . I hope. I bought one and if it does well, I’ll probably purchase a second for the other feeder.
Update 1/28/16: This baffle has worked well so I purchased a second one for the other feeder this week.
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