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How to Stop Squirrels Stealing From Your Bird Feeder


Squirrels spend a lot of time eating. They have a very fast metabolism and need a constant supply of foods high in fat for energy. Squirrels typically eat more than their body weight in food each week.

Squirrels are opportunists. Squirrels’ diets consist mainly of nuts, seeds, berries, tree buds and insects. What they eat depends on what is available at any given time. Food supplies change from year to year due to weather conditions and other factors, so for an animal that constantly needs to eat, a steady food source like a bird feeder is very appealing.

Tree squirrels are natural athletes. They can jump from 4 to 6 feet vertically and distances of 8 to 10 feet between objects. Toes and claws adapted for life in the trees make it easy for squirrels to cling to objects while hanging upside down.

Unlike birds that will usually share feeders with other visitors, squirrels tend to scare or chase away birds and will stay at the same feeder until it is empty, consuming large quantities of seeds quickly without the birds getting a bite.

In their efforts to get to the  birdseed, squirrels will chew and claw through both wooden and plastic feeders, possibly damaging them so they can no longer be used. It is important to remember as well that squirrels can also be predators and have been known to eat eggs and kill nestlings, which makes a squirrel-friendly yard one that is less attractive to nesting birds.

How to protect your bird feeder form squirrels:

Baffles: One way to keep squirrels out of your feeder is to top it with a large plastic dome called a baffle. The idea is simple: The squirrel tries to climb onto the feeder and encounters the baffle, which blocks their access. When they try to push her way past the bafflers, they rotate, often dumping the would-be diner onto the ground along with some seed.

Different seeds: A second basic approach is to fill your feeder with foods that squirrels won’t want: safflower seed (which attracts species such as cardinals, chickadees, and titmice), nyjer thistle (which nourishes goldfinches and others of their kind), or a birdseed mixture that includes a large amount of white proso millet seed (which satisfies the hunger of mourning doves and house finches).

Location: As mentioned above, squirrels can jump distances of 10 feet or greater, so place feeders well away from trees, wires, porches and other launching points to make it more difficult for squirrels to get on the feeder. Ideally, mount bird feeders on a smooth metal pole at least six feet high, and prune any branches or bushes within a 12 foot radius.

Cages: Place a wire cage around a bird feeder that squirrels will not fit through but with openings that will not restrict smaller birds from feeding. This is also useful for preventing larger birds, such as starlings and pigeons, from accessing the feeder. Some feeders come equipped with these cages, or you can easily add mesh to an existing feeder.

Hanging your bird feeder from a wire: Squirrels will have difficulty raiding a bird feeder hung from a tree branch on a wire more than ten feet long. Place the feeder at least eight feet away from the tree trunk, limbs, or structures from which the squirrels might leap. If a squirrel does slide down the support wire, a plastic or metal umbrella-shaped (commercial or homemade) baffle mounted over the feeder will deflect him.

Protecting your home from squirrels:

If you have squirrels on your property, your home could be vulnerable to squirrels trying to get into your home. Squirrels can enter homes through chimneys, attic vents and gaps in soffits. Once a squirrel has entered your home, they can cause damage to insulation, electrical wires, wood beams, pipes, fascia, shingles vents and more. The feces and urine they leave behind can present serious health concerns to homeowners.  This is the time of the year when squirrels are looking for a place to give birth, so the damage could be even worse if a whole family takes up residence. To ensure their survival and prevent further damage to your home, baby squirrels will need to be removed by hand, are they are not mobile until 10 weeks of age.

We advise homeowners to take a proactive approach to protecting their homes from urban wildlife. It is much easier to have pre-emptive wildlife proofing done before an infestation occurs and before there are large amounts of damage done to the home.

You can trust Skedaddle to get the job done right when it comes to evicting squirrels. Our proved process and experienced technicians have what it takes to protect your home and family. If you have squirrels that frequent your bird feeder and you want to make sure they don’t get into your home, call 1.888.592.0387

We remove squirrels in from homes and business in: Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, London, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Sudbury, St. Catharines  and Niagara.



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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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