• You set up a bird feeder in your backyard to watch the birds as they come and go, and to help the birds that do not fly south for the winter have a source of food. Both are very good reasons to have a bird feeder, but you probably didn't give much thought to the bird feeder's worst enemy: the squirrel. Squirrels have become such a nuisance for bird feeder enthusiasts that there are now products on the market to keep the squirrels out of your feeders.

    Specially Designed Feeders

    According to, there are two types of anti-squirrel bird feeders on the market. The first operates by using the weight of the squirrel to block it from eating. Squirrels generally weigh more than the birds you are trying to attract, so when a squirrel descends on these feeders its weight will close off the part of the feeder that holds the food. When the squirrel leaves, the feeder opens up to allow birds to eat. The other kind of anti-squirrel bird feeder has a cage around the food with openings that are supposed to be too small for a squirrel to fit through and food that is too far away for the squirrel to reach. These can sometimes be ineffective, however, because some squirrels can wiggle through the openings.

    Installing the Bird Feeder suggests making your bird feeder its own island to frustrate squirrels. Place bird feeders at least 8 feet from any tree branch and 6 feet from your house roof. (A feeder needs to be farther from a tree than a roof because branches offer an extra spring that squirrels can use to cover longer distances.) Or, install the bird feeder on a slippery PVC pipe or a stainless steel pole to deny the squirrels an easy climb to your feeder. A squirrel can dig its claws into a wooden pole, so avoid using a wooden stand for your feeder.

    Add to the Feed

    According to a 1999 study by Cornell University, when a pepper substance known as capsaicin is added to birdseed, it will stop squirrels from eating the seed without causing a noticeable drop-off in the number of birds that eat the seed. By treating your birdseed with capsaicin, you can keep the squirrels out of your feeder and leave the feed for the birds.


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    Keeping Squirrels Off Birdfeeders

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