London (change)
Today 20°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 20°C / 14°C
19 messages
27/08/2013 at 22:12

Does anyone have any ideas on how to prevent confident squirrels from stealing bird feed and feeders! 

2 Weeks ago I moved to a new home with a garden and within 12 hours a squirrels was all over my peanut cage bird feeder.  When I got home later the next day the bird feeder had disappeared!  Last Friday I bought 2 ceramic open bird feeder on metal sticks which I have placed in the center of the garden - within a day the squirrels had figured out how to climb up the slim pole and sit happily devouring the nuts inside the ceramic feeder.

Are there any types of feed that birds love but squirrels hate - or can anyone suggest a squirrel proof bird feeder?

Please help me to encourage birds into my little garden and put off the bolshy urban squirrels!

27/08/2013 at 22:24

The RSPB have squirrel proof feeders. Very effective but quite expensive. But they do last. Based on a spring system, they close up when something heavy lands on them.

Also, you can coat bird food in chili powder. Birds don't care but squirrels do.

27/08/2013 at 22:27

You can put a baffle on the pole. Try garden bird supplies. Also the squirrel buster feeder as above. Droll Yankee all metal feeders are good.

27/08/2013 at 22:31

A squirrel baffle is the only way I have beaten them - squirrel proof feeders have never worked with me if they can't get access they manage to knock them to the ground usually damaging them. Choose a location where they can't jump from a tree branch or garden arch etc and then fit a baffle - about £12. I used an old bin lid on my second feeder (does not look pretty) but does the job!!

28/08/2013 at 06:31

As a short term measure try greasing the pole with cooking oil or butter - it's worth watching the expressions on their faces as they try to climb up and keep sliding down 

28/08/2013 at 09:52

Agree with the metal pole and baffle away from trees- really works for us. You can then use normal feeders. We also have The Nuttery squirrel proof feeders in trees and they work also. You can also buy squirrel guardians to put over normal feeders.  

28/08/2013 at 10:39

Alternatively, embrace the squirrels!   They need love too    I honestly can't understand why people don't want to feed them. I really enjoy watching them doing their 'Mission impossible' tricks to get up my feeder pole and then hanging upside down on the peanut feeder to tease the nuts out. I did, however, make a point of buying  very rigid, thick metal feeder so they can't bite through the mesh and I also use garden wire to 'safety chain' the feeders so they can't be taken in their entirety.  I find that if I keep one relatively easily squirrel-accessible feeder full of nuts, they don't bother with the other ball-on-a-chain nut holder so the birds get nuts too.  Also I have a number of feeders on my pole, with various seeds and stuff, and other than pinching the odd mouthful out of the ground feeder tray, the squirrels are too happy with the nuts to eat the other bird food.  They definitely don't seem to touch the mealworms. Cost wise, I keep feeding the hoardes manageable buy stocking up on feed from Costco.  12.5kg bags of mixed feed are less than £7 and a simiar sized sack of peanuts is £18. Even keeping the squirrel feeder topped up daily, I only get through two sacks of peanuts a year.  All in all it's a very cheap daily cost for keeping lots of happy wildlife in the garden and early in the morning I really enjoy watching them all having breakfast.

28/08/2013 at 13:42

Sorry MACAVITYTHECAT,  We all have differant opinions on the grey squirrel . The grey squirrel is a tree rat and vermin . 

They were introduced into this country and are wiping out our own gentle red squirrel . 

where we used to live they got into the roofs after doing damage , then chewing the electric wires  , they did so much damage . Even to the new houses . As the problem of the squirrels increased, to them breeding in the oak trees again  doubleing there numbers  one neighbor phoned the envoirament section of our council.

The short answer he got was " do you know anyone with a gun ? "  

 

28/08/2013 at 14:16

We also had problems with squirrels and bird feeders. We put a black piping tube about 3 foot high, around the base of the feeder to prevent them from climbing up but they still managed it. We had a feeder that was spring loaded also, which when they climb down from the top onto the feeder, the weight of them draws down the top half of the feeder and the bottom up, closing access to feed. This works, however, it was expensive, and you can't get that much feed it in, plus it's a bugger to clean.

Type squirrel proof feeders into google and see what sort of price them are. Either that or provide a ground feeder for them withe cheap seed to detract them from going up to the feeders for the birds.

28/08/2013 at 14:20

I respect your view on this lucky3, even though I don't agree with it. As you say, we all have different opinions. I fully appreciate that structural damage of my house would possibly change my own attitude but the squirrels in my garden don't appear to be guilty of any crime greater than helping themselves to food that they could reasonably be expected to see as 'fair game'.

As for them being 'vermin', I accept the point but then again so, probably, are the foxes in my garden that keep destroying my veggie beds.  It's a term I'd happily use for the frog family that's recently  moved house into my small goldfish pond and is causing such a problem to my fish that I've spent most of this morning costing up the construction of a much larger pond that can accomodate both species.  To some people (including my husband) the more obvious answer would be to evict the frogs. To me, accomodating my unexpected (but not unwelcome) new residents is the ONLY answer.

I started out wanting a bee-friendly garden, and then it expanded to being a wildlife friendly garden, and now it's an all-comers are welcome garden (including a decidedly feral cat who's moved into the potting shed and now expects three meals a day) and I genuinely can't understand how people can 'pick and choose' the wildlife they welcome into their gardens as though one species of animal has less right to life than another. I personally feel absolutely thrilled and even honoured whenever some new wild animal finds my garden to be a safe haven to live in and if it happens to be an animal that no one else likes then that's even extra bonus points for me.

But I fully respect the right of other people to feel differently about it.

29/08/2013 at 11:38

We sucessfully put a very cheap plastic slinky spring over the pole a couple of years ago. Squirrels can't climb up it. I just saw a video where someone put a slinky over the line suspending a feeder from a tree, squirrels didn't like that either.

At less than £1 for a cheap slinky spring toy, it's worth a go.

31/08/2013 at 09:44

WOW - it's good to know I am not alone in trying to fend my BIRD feeders from squirrels!!  Good to know about baffles and the RSPB squirrel proof feeders and Dovefromabove I love your idea about greasing the pole - preventative and entertaining!  Macavitythecat - I don't dislike any wildlife but the urban squirrels in my neightbourhood are so confident that they scare off the birds and have a monopoly on all the food myself and other bird lovers put out - I just want to create some balance in my garden to allow all the visitors a chance of a meal.

Thanks for all your suggestions and help.

31/08/2013 at 10:13

There is no food that the squirrels don't like. Forget bird feed, its figs, hazelnuts and grapes from my vines. They have tried tomatoes but weren't that keen on them.

31/08/2013 at 10:54

The greasing the pole option worked for us, but we used proper engineering grease - much better than butter or oil - I had a can kicking around in my garage, but you can probably get it at any motor factors/Halfords etc.  We did it a couple of times and after a few weeks they stopped bothering, never to return again

 

31/08/2013 at 11:04

My mothering-law (75 yrs) runs out of the kitchen with one of those power soakers (water gun) it's really quite funny to see.

James

31/08/2013 at 11:25

Macavitythecat,

There is a big difference between urban foxes and grey squirrels.  Foxes are a native species but can certainly be a massive nuisance in some areas, whereas grey squirrels are officially classed as vermin and may not be released if captured.  They legally must be destroyed.

All furry, cuddly looking animals are not equal!

As for how to stop squirrels of any colour nicking the bird food, I suspect it will be an ongoing battle.  Anybody who saw the programme a few years ago with squirrels managing to defeat just about any obstacle put in front of them will realise it isn't going to be easy.

I do like the idea of greasing the pole

01/09/2013 at 13:07

So if they have to be destroyed  as KT53  says and i am in agreance for reasons I have already said . What if the RSPCA get involved ? I seem to remember a bloke found drowned one i n his waterbutt . And RSPC got involved and caused a stink ? 

Can anyone else remember this ? 

I read alsorts up and cant always remember where I got it from -

I blame my age ..........everytime ........sometimes it works !

01/09/2013 at 14:10

They have to be killed humanely and I presume drowning wasn't considered to be humane.  There also seem to be elements in the RSPCA who are opposed to any kind of animal/pest control.

04/09/2013 at 12:11

There was a similar thread not too long ago where I suggested squirrel bafflers - things like this as well as common sense really e.g. placing your bird feeder at least 6ft away from branches etc really helps too.

with regards to the legality of humanely disposing of pests I've done a bit of research.  I knew a chap who would shoot squirrels off birds feeders with an air riffle (lived in the middle of nowhere) - he always said that grey squirrels were classed as a pests.  SO I did some research...have a read of this article I've pasted below the main stuff from page 6.  Basically you can capture squirrels but it is illegal to release them unless you have a license so really the only option is to kill them.

(ii) Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) (available at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/about_legislation.htm) prohibits the release into the wild any animal which is 1) of a kind that is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to GB in a wild state or 2) is included in Part 1 of Schedule 9. Currently (June 2008), the black rat (Rattus rattus), the fat/edible dormouse (Glis glis), the grey squirrel (Sciureus carolinensis) and the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) are listed on Part 1 of Schedule 9 and therefore cannot be released, except under licence.

hope this helps
email image
19 messages