/ What is the Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?

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L Martin2222 19 May 2019

Any bird feeding experts on here? I like to have nice wee birds in my garden, but recently a squirrel has been snaffling all the food from the feeders and there's no birds. What should I put out that only the birds will eat? I read some here: https://ecopetlife.com/best-squirrel-proof-bird-feeder/ and would love more ideas

This summer, after relocating about a dozen gray squirrels far off my property, 2 or 3 new grays have moved in. Apparently they were developed from a better gene pool. One of these guys learned how to perfectly balance him/her self, with the hind feet on the pole and the fore feet between the perch and the feed tray, in order to feed contentedly, if not in complete comfort. It finally occurred to be that I needed to make the galvanized pole more slippery. Tried vaseline and/or lithium but that was messy for me and for the squirrels too and did not have the desired result - the rest of the family has learned the same balancing act.

I found a chrome finished tube that nicely sleeved over the galvanized pipe. Up from 1/2" pipe to 3/4" pipe but with a much smoother finish. I have used some Mothers car wax to make the chrome tube even slicker and that has promise. The gray tried a few times this morning but had to give up. Something was wrong but he wasn't patient enough to try to figure it out in the pouring rain.

MY QUESTION - can anyone recommend the very slickest of waxes or treatments I can apply to this pole? Maximum slick please - weatherproof if possible but I'm willing to reapply weekly if it works. Thank you for any ideas.

PS - Don't suggest a 22 caliber or the like.  I won't put out food and then kill a creature just because it wants to eat. That's just wrong!

PPS - I have raised the pole so that the feeder is out of reach of the turkeys. That was an easy fix .

Pefa 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

Love and provide for your wee squirrel population as you want to for your wee bird pop. You will find a way to do both if you see both as equally important. 

3
NathanP 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

Could you fit a large disc around the pole, just below the feeder? Even your acrobatic squirrels might struggle to climb a horizontal roof.

Ron Rees Davies 19 May 2019
Trangia 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

Why are you feeding birds anyway? They don't need feeding at this time of the year. By doing so you are interfering with their instinct to search out food and find natural sources. This is particularly important with young being raised so that they learn how to forage in the wild. Bird feeders are an artificial source. They also attract hawks and other predators including cats. It's only in particularly harsh conditions like a bad winter or drought that they may need a survival boost from humans, and even this is debatable as it's an interference with nature. Let them be and enjoy watching and listening to them in the wild. 

1
SouthernSteve 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/squirrel-deterrent/squirrel-guard-pole-mounted-cone.html?ClickType=Image&ListType=&ListName=&Position=12

This works quite well. I like seeing the squirrels, although they are grey ones and an invasive species, but they would bankrupt us eating all the bird food. I have never saw a mouse get up this pole.

SouthernSteve 19 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

Bird feeding is useful at many times of the year – man has so interfered with nature already that we can help preserve bird species with feeding. Go to a big reserve and you will see this in action at all times of the year.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/when-to-feed-garden-birds/

SouthernSteve 19 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Not all species are equal. Grey squirrels are invasive and have destroyed the native squirrel populations in many areas. The concept of compassionate conservation seems very appealing, but sometimes you need to reduce some species just to allow the others to live. This has recently been highlighed in the news. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48315709

Recently enacted regulations have caused massive controversy though, as squirrels should not be released into the wild after veterinary aid

e.g. https://veterinary-practice.com/news/2019/eu-rules-sound-death-knell-for-british-wildlife

Such a difficult subject.

Siward 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

The basic cage ones actually work, last for years and allow lots of birds access at once.

This sort of thing:

https://www.birdfood.co.uk/apollo-guardian-for-5-port-seed-feeder.html

keith-ratcliffe 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

We have a spring loaded feeder that closes the access holes if something too heavy (eg Squirrel) lands on it. That seems to work plus you can buy chilli flavoured bird food as it seems they don't taste it but squirrels do. I just sprinkle some cheap chilli powder in my mix.

Tom V 19 May 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

I think it's a welcome relief to find a wildlife group acknowledging what is clearly a fact of life instead of trotting out the old protests about invasive species: grey squirrels are a feature of our countryside in the same way that rabbits are and  it's time to accept it.

It won't get much support on here but UKC politics are singularly intolerant when it comes to foreign species establishing homes over here: the rest of the country might be more ambivalent about  grey squirrels, mink and so on.

2
Martin W 19 May 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Recently enacted regulations have caused massive controversy though, as squirrels should not be released into the wild after veterinary aid

The simple answer is not to give them veterinary aid in the first place.  Explain to the well-meaning members of the public why they can't treat the injured animals and it might help to spread a worthwhile message about not providing succour for an invasive species.

If the numbers of animals involved is so insignificant (as it says on that web site), it's hardly going to be the "death knell for British wildlife" especially since it isn't "British" wildlife that's affected by the rules.

Martin W 19 May 2019
In reply to Siward:

> The basic cage ones actually work, last for years and allow lots of birds access at once.

They also provide a degree of protection from predators - most specifically sparrowhawks (reference Trangia's comment).  That said, I have no problem with a sparrowhawk finding occasional sustenance in my garden.  I use a cone-shaped squirrel baffle as recommended by Ron Rees Davies.  On the feeder I have hanging from a tree branch I have a rather wider dome-shaped baffle which keeps the squirrels off.

I tried one of the "trick" ones with the spring-loaded perches.  It did work, in that it denied squirrels access to the bird food, but I found that the birds weren't keen on it either.  Which rather defeated the object.

I also tried a squirrel feeder like this one https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81nsKGeNFxL._SL1500_.jpg which I filled with peanuts.  The idea being to try to keep them off the birds' food by giving them their own source.  However, after watching one squirrel empty the feeder in a morning - taking the nuts away to stash somewhere, presumably, since it involved a lot of coming and going, it wasn't just sitting there stuffing its face - I gave up on appeasement and have since focused on prevention.

Ron Rees Davies 19 May 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Recently enacted regulations have caused massive controversy though, as squirrels should not be released into the wild after veterinary aid

There's a lot of fuss about the new legislation, but the old Wildlife and Countryside Act had similar provisions about not releasing non natives, particularly a named list (schedule 9) of established invasives including Grey Squirrel and Canada Goose. It was just poorly enforced (partly because most WCA enforcement was left to the RSPCA who were themselves releasing Grey Squirrels from some of their wildlife hospitals). 

SouthernSteve 19 May 2019
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

>  It was just poorly enforced 

Definitely! I would say non-enforced.

Tringa 19 May 2019
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Agree about the cages. They definitely stop the squirrels. If you get one you might find you need to wire the top to stop the little grey darlings opening and getting to the food that way.

A drawback we've found with a cage is the visiting great spotted woodpecker is too large to get in the cage and the gap between the cage and feeder stops it getting to the seeds.

We also use this one - https://homgar.com/products/pestoff-squirrel-proof-bird-feeders?variant=4374045379&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiO-g6Z-n4gIVTbDtCh04VwIbEAQYAiABEgIzvPD_BwE

which as long as it is far enough away from a tree or other support defeats the squirrels. The woodpecker can feed from this one easily. However, the parakeets can't - another problem to solve.

A dog is also useful at deterring squirrels. Our crossed fell terrier regards anything furry and fox sized or smaller as prey and really scares the squirrels. Unfortunately he can't be on duty all day.

Dave

balmybaldwin 19 May 2019
Eric9Points 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

I had problems with squirrels when my feeder was hanging from a clothes pole. The squirrels could climb the pole and get to the feeder. I then hung a feeder from a tree branch on about 0.5m of cord, leaving it suspended about 2m off the ground. The only way the squirrels can access the feeder us by descending the cord which they're unable to do.

I also attached an old Frisbee to the base of the feeder to prevent seeds falling onto the ground. I was finding that the constant supply of seeds was attracting not only pigeons and squirrels but also mice and eventually a rat. The Frisbee modification stopped all that. I still get squirrels in the garden but they have to make do with what nature provides.

Tom V 19 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

They can climb down to feeders suspended from string but if you use a length of strimmer cord it  seems to defeat them.

wbo 19 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:rather depends on the quality and volume of bird friendly habitat rather Martin's house .  Not everyone is surrounded by good quality hedgerow etc.

Air rifle?  I'm surprised anyone is suggesting accepting mink 

Eric9Points 19 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> They can climb down to feeders suspended from string but if you use a length of strimmer cord it  seems to defeat them.

Hmmm.

I used plastic sheathed clothes line which is also effective.

Jim Fraser 19 May 2019
In reply to Martin2222:

> PS - Don't suggest a 22 caliber or the like.  I won't put out food and then kill a creature just because it wants to eat. That's just wrong!

Not one for eradication of invasive species then?

Is your position the same on Japanese Knotweed?


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