Squirrel proof bird feeding tips

This comprehensive collection of squirrel proof bird feeding tips is aimed to help you make right decision when choosing your new squirrel-proof bird feeder. Please read this guide "top to toe" because here you will find the advice for following important questions:

  • how to avoid common mistakes people make when shopping for squirrel-proof feeders
  • how choosing wrong feeder type may turn you into squirrel feeding instead of bird feeding enthusiast
  • how to read reviews written by people who already own bird feeder you got hooked on
  • the greatest truth of it all: is ANY squirrel proof bid feeder able to get you rid of the squirrels?

So before you go and decide to buy (another) squirrel proof bird feeder, spending some minutes of your time here will save you hours and days, it will save your money and your nerves as well.
That's a promise.

Why people make wrong choices when shopping for squirrel-proof bird feeders? 

 

We all make wrong shopping choices here and there and there is nothing new about it. But if it's to judge by literally hundreds and thousands of negative online reviews written by disappointed shoppers, shopping mistakes seem to be very frequent with squirrel-proof bird feeders in particular. The reasons for that are many and I will try to identify the most certain pitfalls that await you down the road. So here is big no-no list or if you prefer - a collection of major things to avoid when shopping for anti-squirrel bird feeder.


  • Getting lost in plenty 

Due to a overwhelming number of different anti-squirrel bird feeder products in the market today it is really easy to get lost in plenty. Vast number of manufacturers of squirrel-proof feeders and literately the swarm of their online affiliates are creating even more confusion over peoples final decision on which bird feeder to buy. Here's how to prevent confusion: in this tutorial you will learn just what type of squirrel-proof bird feeder is the most convenient for your own needs. Concentrated on a single type of feeders only, your search is narrowed and the risk of making mistake is set to minimum.

  • Falling for aesthetics

We all love eye catching purchases, but trust me: that's not what you're after in this case! Your search for proven squirrel proof bird feeder should not result in buying garden ornament, but in buying fully functional squirrel proof bird feeder. So if your appetites are into birdhouse decor, you should go for decorative birdhouse and if you want anti-squirrel bird feeder you'd better remember to sink the aesthetics to the bottom of your pondering list. Never forget that the feeder you want must have at least one inbuilt anti-squirrel feature!

  • Unconditional trust in squirrel-proof bird feeders reviews 

It is always good thing to have an insight into reviews of people who already own squirrel proof feeder we got hooked on. And that's true. But we think it's OK to adopt independent strangers experiences on certain feeder models, right?
WRONG! And here's why:
I don't know if you have already noticed this, but why is it that even the most renowned and the most respectable anti-squirrel bird feeders in the market receive negative reviews by its customers? Have you ever wondered how come a single squirrel squirrel-proof bird feeder could get whole 5 stars review from X customers and the exact number of only one stars from unhappy customers?
Well, there's perfectly reasonable explanation to this, in fact there are two explanations:
- While extremely positive reviews may come from feeder manufacturer and their affiliates, extremely negative reviews are possible from competition that tries to downgrade feeder's quality
- Negative reviews may and will come from people who made wrong shopping choice with inadequate feeder type and inadequate placement and usage of the feeder. Those are the people who were shopping without strategy (please read on).

  • Shopping without squirrel-proof strategy 

Most people believe they'll buy squirrel proof bird feeder and that's it. This is the single biggest mistake and single biggest reason for wrong shopping choice!
After some time of studying of all kinds of the squirrel proof bird feeders available for sale, reading contradictory squirrel-proof bird feeders reviews, watching videos related to the subject and doing pretty much of everything to find a "holy grail" solution for my backyard squirrels problem, I have finally discovered a simple truth about it all and I want to share it with you here.
And the simple truth is: no existing squirrel proof bird feeder will get you rid of the squirrels by itself because the feeder is only single component of your squirrel-proof strategy and not the squirrel-proof strategy alone. Further on, any squirrel-proof bird feeder you buy will need a lot of your thinking to achieve the top performance. Think of it as a chess game - you are the player and your bird feeder is your most powerful figure. No matter how powerful it may be, it can't win the game without you and other assisting figures!
Here's another real life example to show you that anti-squirrel feeders demand : looking for "absolute squirrel proof feeder" is the same as if you are looking for "the absolute water-proof watch" and we all know the watches are water-proof up to certain depths only! The same works for squirrel-proof feeders: they are all squirrel-proof up up to some point and depending on how you use them.
But before you determine what your anti-squirrel strategy is going to be like, you need to be familiar with the types of anti-squirrel bird feeders first because they hold central part of your anti-squirrel defense system and therefore are good starting point to build the strategy from.

Types of squirrel proof bird feeders


Getting to know unique features of different squirrel proof bird feeders types is your first step towards building successful anti-squirrel strategy. So here's classification of the feeders with the feeder examples of each group. I strongly recommend visiting all the links with feeder examples before you get the idea what might work for you. ANY of the feeders you'll find bellow will give good results once you learn how to use them and where to place them!

Depending on the squirrel proof mechanism they feature, all feeders may be classified into two major categories: electric and mechanical.

Electric squirrel proof bird feeders   

This type of feeders utilizes electric energy to prevent squirrels from stealing bird food. Depending on the way how they use electric energy to chase the squirrels away, electric bird feeders may be further classified into two sub groups:
- Spinning squirrel proof bird feeders: electric power is used to spin off the squirrels from feeders perch the moment the squirrel comes close to the bird feeding port. To see how it works please check this example of spinning squirrel proof bird feeder.  
- The "electric shock" squirrel proof bird feeders: electric power is used to give the squirrels small and harmless electric shock similar to the static we all get surprised by here and there. This small static is what squirrels feel when touching two metal parts of the feeder simultaneously. For more details, please check this example of squirrel shocking bird feeder.

Things to know about electric squirrel proof bird feeders: 
Electric feeders feature inbuilt local battery unit that's recharged either by charger or by solar power. In spite of being very effective, the squirrel-proof features of electric feeders are next to nothing when out of power. This means you have to check regularly if the battery is charged. Or if the feeder is solar powered, cell must have direct access to the sunlight (snow and dirt cleaning as well as placing feeder out of shade). The truth is electric bird feeders need your frequent supervision to function properly and if for any reason you can not afford the time to inspect your electric bird feeder at least twice a week, it might not be right choice for you.    

Mechanical squirrel proof bird feeders      

This broad group of squirrel proof bird feeders consists of feeder models that feature some kind of mechanical barrier of some other mechanism to prevent squirrels from accessing bird feeding ports. Depending on squirrel-proof concept, mechanical bird feeders may be placed in three major categories:
- Caged squirrel-proof bird feeders - simple but effective feeders presented by regular non squirrel-proof bird feeders placed in the cage. The width of the grid on cage construction is being set so that only small birds can enter the cage and reach the feeder, while big birds, rats and squirrels can't. To see several examples please visit the page dedicated to caged squirrel-proof bird feeders.
- Anti-squirrel baffle bird feeders - these are the feeders with inbuilt anti-squirrel baffle, a mechanical barrier that prevents squirrels from reaching bird feeding ports. Typical example of this group is this four seed chamber anti squirrel feeder. In broader perspective, anti-squirrel baffles themselves are more than welcome as a part of your anti-squirrel defense system and if your feeder does not have inbuilt baffle, you'd definitely want to buy one in order to additionally squirrel-proof the feeder you own. There's one thing you need to note here: the wider the baffle is in diameter, the more efficient it is!
- Squirrel proof bird feeders with weight mechanism make possibly the largest group within category of mechanical bird feeders. They use simple fact that the squirrels are much heavier than wild bird and therefore the anti-squirrel mechanism of these feeders is set to trigger off  under the squirrel weight only. Most of these feeders offer you possibility to fine tune the set off weight, so that you can even set the size of the birds that are allowed to be fed at your feeder. There are two working principles of weight based bird feeders: either the feeding ports shut down under the squirrels weight like in Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder, or feeder perches are being set not to withstand the weight of the squirrels like in Droll Yankees Whipper Feeder. 

Ultimate anti-squirrel bird feeding strategy


If you made this far, I am pretty sure you got familiar with the most of the feeder types available for sale. You have also found out that there is no such thing as "perfect squirrel proof feeder". In this chapter, we will try to build squirrel-proof strategy in order to make that feeder work as perfect as possible.

Now let's first decide what exactly should we expect from our squirrel proof strategy?
Most people expect to prevent squirrels from eating bird food and that's OK. But we want even more than that! We want to make everything possible in order to prevent squirrels from even stepping on our feeder scarring off the birds. This way, instead of the first line of fire, we are putting our squirrel proof feeder in the last line of anti-squirrel defense system which is the best possible practice by far.

Here's how we do it:  

  1. Placement, placement, placement... Believe it or not this is the most important thing to consider because even the most expensive and the most praised feeders are worth nothing if you choose wrong place for it. Now, try to imagine your backyard for a moment and try to figure out the spot where your feeder is going to be placed. Be warned: the squirrels may and will attack your feeder from the ground, nearby trees, walls, fences, from anything they can climb on. If you can picture a spot in your backyard that's 5 feet above the ground (that's how much a squirrel can jump in height), and at least 10 feet away (squirrels can jump that much across) from any tree trunk, branch, fence, roof or any spot the squirrels can jump from - you may consider yourself lucky. If I was you, I'd definitely go for something like pole mounted squirrel proof bird feeder or maybe some other hanging squirrel proof bird feeder combined with third party bird feeder pole with anti squirrel baffle. So if your backyard offers enough space, you'll definitely want to avoid critical distance from surrounding objects. But if you don't have enough space you'll have to hang your feeder to a tree or mount it to a pole anyway... but then you are going to need additional squirrel proofing techniques to assist your feeder with: baffles and squirrel repellents are more than welcome in situation like that.
  2. Squirrel-proof bird feeder poles - their primary role is to stop squirrels climbing up the pole while holding feeders at the safe distance from the ground (5 feet or more). Be aware that the poles do not protect feeders from the above or side attacks, so keep the distance and use the baffles to secure your feeder additionally.     
  3. Using anti-squirrel baffles - Baffles are of tremendous help when boosting squirrel proof features of the feeder. They are most commonly used to prevent squirrel attacks from the "above" when the feeder is hanged to a tree, but also the attacks from "below" if you need to squirrel-proof the feeder pole. For more tips on choosing good baffles and their usage please visit this page.       
  4. Squirrel repellents - out of a large group of squirrel repellents, I recommend mixing bird food with hot and spicy bird food additive that's so hot the squirrels won't touch it once they get burned...lol. On the other side, the birds don't have hot food receptors and won't feel a thing!

No matter how comprehensive, this guide is not perfect and it is probably missing to share some info. So if you have any questions on squirrel-proof bird feeders or maybe suggestion on how to make this guide better, please make comment bellow.
Thanks!

3 comments:

  1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing this! My wife loves having birds in the yard. She can't stand squirrels or rodents, though. Having a way to keep them away will be great. And just in time for one or two new birdhouses! Thiago | http://www.lindaandbobsmall.com/default.asp?dept_id=30060

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  2. I really want to get a bird feeder for my backyard. I love to watch birds, and a bird feeder would help attract more of them to my yard. I would make sure to get a squirrel proof one, so that only birds can use it. http://www.jrgiftworld.com/np1-listing-dept-30060

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