Do you know how to make bird feeders squirrel proof? I don’t want to harm the squirrels but I want the robins and cardinals to get the food I put out for them.
Michaela Guernsey, Rhode Island
It’s challenging to keep squirrels out of bird feeders and from stealing bird food, but not impossible. I’ll go over a few tips for how to make bird feeders squirrel proof. Let’s begin with the design features of the feeders themselves.
First, look for feeders that have doors that shut off seed ports. The trick behind this is the weight of the squirrel that triggers the door closures. The best squirrel-proof feeders have adjustable weight limits and a chew-resistant structure, too.
Other than replacing your feeders, you can spice the food with cayenne pepper as a natural squirrel repellent. The birds won’t care because they can’t taste it. But the squirrels will soon learn to leave the food alone.
The same idea applies to make squirrel repellent. Chop up a jalapeno and two onions and dust them with cayenne pepper. Boil that in a quart and a half of water for thirty minutes. Then once it cools, strain it into a spray bottle. The obnoxious scent will keep squirrels away from your feeders and anywhere else you want to protect, including your garden.
If you don’t want to spray, why not sprinkle a deterrent? Mix crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne, and paprika to sprinkle around the bird feeder platform.
There are more tips for keeping squirrels at bay listed on this page: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-keep-squirrels-away-from-bird-feeders/ One describes how to make a homemade feeder baffle while another explains building bird feeder poles. One variation on the feeder pole idea is to grease the pole with Crisco.
Otherwise, you can simply supply food that most squirrels won’t eat. These include millet, canary seed, and canola seed.