Squirrel vs Bird Feeder: What is a Bird Watcher to Do?

Squirrel Peeking Over a Baffle at A Squirrel Buster Feeder
Squirrel Peeking Over a Baffle at A Squirrel Buster Feeder

When a squirrel decides that your bird feeder must surely be a food source you put out just for him, what can you do? You might think that you have to accept that if you have squirrels and feed birds that they will be getting into the feeders and there is nothing you can do about it. But after many years of feeding birds, I have found that you don’t have to give into squirrels. You just need to observe how the squirrels are getting into the feeder(s), think creatively and be willing to consider and try a variety of possible solutions.

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Putting a Ground Feeder on a Pole

This "Fly-Through" Platform Feeder Used to Be a Ground Feeder
This “Fly-Through” Platform Feeder (left) Used to Be a Ground Feeder

I have a lot of bird feeders. Each new season brings changes to the bird dynamics in the yard so I tend to do some tweaking of feeders or their placement each season. During warmer months, birds have a wider variety of natural foods available so, while they still eat birdseed, they don’t go through as much of it. Now that fall has arrived, birdseed consumption will soon be picking up. I want to see if I can reduce the amount of seed winding up in squirrel bellies this winter, so I made another change in my set-up. This time, it involves turning a ground platform feeder into a platform feeder on top of a pole.

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Squirrels: To Feed or Not To Feed?

Squirrel Sitting in a Feeder
Squirrel Sitting in a Feeder

If you put out food for birds, you are almost guaranteed to have other critters come to eat too. In my yard, this means a slew of squirrels and a huge groundhog (although I haven’t seen the groundhog this year, so I’m hopeful it has moved!) The squirrels cause me all kinds of grief, but to put it in perspective, at least I don’t have raccoons or bears carrying off the feeders entirely!

Keeping squirrels from dominating the bird feeders and eating a large portion of the food has been a continuous challenge. I’ve experimented with different types of seed, different types of feeders and different ways of protecting the seed and feeders from the squirrels. I’ve had some luck, but my yard still isn’t squirrel free. So for the past six months or so I’ve been experimenting with a different approach to keeping squirrels out of the feeders: feeding them!

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