Squirrels Solutions

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We often hear the difficulties of feeding birds while managing backyard critters like squirrels.  Sometimes people say "There is no such thing as a feeder squirrels can't get into" or "There is no way to stop squirrels".  The reality is there are many ways we can keep squirrels from eating all of your bird seed. Squirrels are no doubt smart and agile creatures.  However squirrel-proofing is possible and actually quite easy if you know the rules (AND FOLLOW THEM!).


Here are 6 Rules for Squirrel-Proofing Bird Feeders:

1. Use Properly Placed Baffles on Poles

Using properly sized, metal baffles on tall poles can effectively keep squirrels away.  The top of a pole baffle should be 5' above the ground to prevent a squirrle from jumping over AND the pole itself must be 10' away from any sturdy launching pads (house, tree, fence, ect.).  The pole must also be tall enough so that all feeders stay above the top of the baffle.  Most standard shephard's hooks are not tall enough to achieve both of these rules, whereas WBU's Advanced Pole Systems can! 


2. Use Properly Sized Baffles for Feeders Hung in Trees

If a feeder is going to hang in a tree, a large overhead baffle is can do the trick, but ONLY if the overhead baffle is broad enough to  allow the feeder to tuck up under the edges, AND is hung far enough out from the tree trunk or low limbs so as to prevent sideways access.  Many times these baffles fail because too large of feeders are placed under the baffle and squirrels learn to catch some part of the feeder as they fall/leap through the air.  Feel free to bring in your feeder to our WBU store so that we can fit your feeder with the proper sized baffle.  

3. Use On-Guard Cages

Our "On-Guard" Cages can fit over a variety of feeders and utilize 1.5'' openings which allow smaller birds to feed, but exclude both gray and fox squirrels (as well as blackbirds and starlings). These are perfect for deck railing feeding or for when the arrangement of your yard won't allow for the use of baffles to work.  The On-Guard Cages work well stopping squirrels, but large woodpeckers are still able to stretch their long necks and bills in to feed.

4. Use WBU Squirrel-Proof Feeders

Squirrel-proof, weight activated feeders can be used in many situations.  We stock several models that feature feed doors that shut closed under the weight of a squirrel and have proven themselves thousands of times.  There are many knock-offs of these feeders out there that have subtle differences from our feeders, creating flawed designs and a bad reputation for all squirrel-proof feeders.  We only stock models that have been proven to work through years of success.  

5. Use Safflower Seed Products      

In our area, many squirrels won't eat safflower seed if it is used as the ONLY seed in the feeder. While not a 100% guarantee solution to keeping squirrels out of your feeders, Safflower is a useful tool to manage critters in your backyard.  Safflower has a bitter taste, and is not as appealing as other seeds to squirrels.  You can offer Safflower seed as loose seed or in seed cylinder form.

6. Use Hot Pepper Foods

WBU hot pepper food products are another way to keep squirrels away.  Sure, there are a few squirrels that don't mind the heat, but these products work well for the majority of people.  We stock Hot Pepper loose seed, seed and nut cylinders, suet, and more!  Birds lack the brain receptors that mammals have, so they aren't affected by the hot pepper, yet most squirrels take one sniff and don't come back.  *Note: We do not recommend loose pepper powder to be mixed into seed blends as these can become airborne and inhaled into the respiratory system.  The pepper that is bound into the suet and seed does not create this issue*



*Please do NOT grease your pole to keep squirrels away from your bird food!*

Whether its vaseline, WD-40, axle grease, vegtagble oil, or any other greasy or oily product - greasing poles can be very harmful to birds and other wildlife! 

3 Reasons to Not Grease Your Pole to Prevent Squirrels:

1. It makes it difficult for birds to fly: Most clinging birds (especially woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches) will land on the side of a feeder pole and shimmy up or down the pole until they are at the feeder level before flying from the pole to the feeder perch.  If there is grease on the pole, it will get all over birds feathers.  Birds cannot remove the grease, making it difficult for them to fly.

2. It can rob animal's ability to stay insulated: Grease on a birds feathers or on a animals fur can also make it hard for them to regulate their temperature.  Birds and other wildlife use feathers and fur to trap warm air- insulating them during cold weather.  Grease can make it hard for them to stay dry in wet and cold weather.  

3. It makes wildlife sick: If squirrels or birds accidently ingest whatever you use to grease your pole, it can potentially make them very ill.

For these reasons, WBU Joliet does not reccommend greasing poles to keep squirrels off feeder poles.  

*For more information on proper and safe squirrel proofing, please stop by the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Joliet, IL to talk to a certified bird feeding specialist.

 Watch One of Our Squirrel Proof Feeders In Action!