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Squirrels: Feed or Repel?

psychmommapsychmomma 2944 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,987 Senior Member
I have bird feeders that are being overtaken by squirrels. They are amusing to watch, but I'd rather watch the birds. Has anyone tried a method that successfully warded off the squirrels? Or have you fed them in another part of your yard and kept them away from the bird feeders? On the positive side, spring seems around the corner and I'm enjoying all the activity in the yard.
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Replies to: Squirrels: Feed or Repel?

  • JEMJEM 6046 replies578 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,624 Senior Member
    I loved having birds come to our feeder near our dining room window. BUT the squirrels ruined it for everyone. They were clever, determined and persistent. We had baffles and other techniques to keep them away, to no avail. They would jump from the house to the feeder. (Placing the feeder further away than they could jump would undermine our ability to enjoy the birds.)
    Eventually we gave up, as we were watching squirrels rather than birds.

    But I recently became aware of a new idea. Google "squirrel slinky bird feeder" and you should get some good YouTube videos. It looks like anchoring a slinky to the pole, underneath the feeder, will be effective at keeping the squirrels from climbing up the pole, although they will keep trying. Please let us know how it goes.
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  • Mom2BoysCAMom2BoysCA 83 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 88 Junior Member
    We have a pie tin with bird seed that is used by the finches, towhees, doves, juncos and occasionally by the scrub jays. We also put sunflower seeds in the pie tin. What happens is the squirrels eat the sunflower seeds, and the doves will wait till they're done. Or, if the doves are in the pie tin, the squirrels wait their turn and munch on the seeds that fall to the ground.

    We also put peanuts on the patio table, which gets eaten by the scrub jays and squirrels. Again, they usually take their turn (we spread the nuts out).

    I think providing two different menus (sunflower seeds and peanuts) in two different parts of our backyard means that everyone gets to eat without fighting or monopolizing the food.

    Yeah, it's $$. But it's my habit and hobby, so we indulge. :)
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  • my-3-sonsmy-3-sons 2899 replies49 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,948 Senior Member
    We have tried several "squirrel proof" feeders and baffles....no dice. The gymnastic routines some of them perform to get to the seed is fascinating to watch. Then I chase them away so the birds get a chance. We go through a lot of seed but we love watching them.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20253 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,462 Senior Member
    Has anyone tried greasing their bird feeder and pole like they did in Philly with the streetlights before the Super Bowl? :)
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32206 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,542 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    Can you throw the squirrel treats in the neighbor's yard? Jk. Someone told me they like dried corn.

    They're frustrating. All I know is that, many places, it's illegal to trap and relocate them.
    edited February 2018
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  • NJresNJres 5965 replies187 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,152 Senior Member
    We have 2 feeders. One is on a pole stuck in the ground and I started greasing it. Seems to work, but I need to re-apply the grease every month or so. The other is a "squirrel proof" feeder that has a spring-loaded perch that drops down and closes the door to the food if anything heavier than a bird sits on the perch. That works pretty well too. Incredibly, even though it is firmly tied in place, it got knocked down a couple of times and we figured out it must have been a raccoon. The feeder broke due to being knocked down, and it was replaced under its lifetime warranty.

    Just the other day a friend told me that he uses "hot" (spicy) birdseed. Squirrels have taste buds and can't stand the stuff. Birds don't have taste buds and it doesn't bother them at all. Problem solved. I am going to try it.
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  • psychmommapsychmomma 2944 replies43 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,987 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    ^ I tried that yesterday. It was semi-successful. I have a double shepherd's hook with bird feeders outside my kitchen window. I have 5 squirrels in my yard, and one is the main acrobat. He made it halfway up the pole, nibbled the crisco, then went back down. Before I greased it, he would climb up, sit on the top, swing by his tail and eat from the feeders, bat the feeders to drop food to the ground, etc. I'm wondering if keeping it well greased for a week or two will train him to give up.
    edited February 2018
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20253 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,462 Senior Member
    "The other is a "squirrel proof" feeder that has a spring-loaded perch that drops down and closes the door to the food if anything heavier than a bird sits on the perch"

    I forgot we used these too in addition to the long pole and baffle.
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  • MaterSMaterS 1806 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,857 Senior Member
    Check out the Droll Yankee feeders. They are very effective against squirrels. Unfortunately the very large raccoons ruined the tree trying to get to the feeder.

    I now feed Cole's hot meats in a window feeder. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CSJ1VE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 There is very little waste. I also tried Cole's Blazing Hot Blend Bird Seed but there was too much waste for a window feeder.

    FYI My neighbor used to feed peanuts which the squirrels distributed around the neighborhood. Not cool for my peanut allergic child.
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  • WellspringWellspring 1452 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,461 Senior Member
    For a look at how far squirrels will go for bird seed watch some of the Daylight Robbery videos from the BBC on YouTube.
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  • mathmommathmom 31930 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,085 Senior Member
    I have a friend who only uses thistle seed - apparently it attracts goldfinches, but not all the other boring birds.
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  • OnwardOnward 2887 replies77 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,964 Senior Member
    Well, I ‘ve been sad because something happened in the fall and all of our squirrels have disappeared. My dog is really sad.
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  • greenwitchgreenwitch 8623 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,664 Senior Member
    ^^yes, it is only eaten by goldfinches so it stays manageable. It is also called niger seed.

    We tried to grease a pole and the squirrels just slid down over and over until they had rubbed all the grease off. What worked better was a baffle that was a steel cylinder with the bottom missing. The squirrels couldn't get past it and we had the pole far enough from anything they could jump from. That was the only device that worked for us.

    I've seen squirrels figure out that spring loaded perch with the closing door. They put one foot in and keep one foot out and munch away.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20253 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,462 Senior Member
    That's the kind of baffle we've used, @greenwitch.

    Sometimes the squirrels would defeat the spring loaded perch by just hanging upside down from another part of the feeder. No wonder they are so hungry. They burn so many calories with their gymnastics!
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