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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Squirrels v. your birdfeeders

A hungry squirrel is an athletic squirrel.  It can leap about 8 feet horizontally - from standing still on a nearby branch or roof. Also a squirrel can jump about 4.5 feet vertically - possibly from the ground to a birdfeeder.  So merely hanging a typical birdfeeder from any old tree branch is often asking for trouble.

no seed for you!
There are two reasonable solutions that don't involve traps, firearms or hanging a feeder from a far-away branch.  1.  Fill a feeder with safflower. Most birds like it, but squirrels hate it. One taste of safflower seed and that particular squirrel won't be a problem any more.  2.  Use a squirrel-proof feeder; I suggest a Squirrel-Buster by Brome (pictured). Several feeders claim to be squirrel proof, but the Squirrel-Buster is the only one I know of that actually is. It costs a bit extra, but you'll save the extra cost in a year or two.
We have two at our house. They try, but no squirrel has ever gotten a single seed from them.

A few desperate friends of mine trap them and relocate them. When the "removed" squirrel is gone, however, several nearby ones will fight noisily over the now-vacant territory (a huge headache). The original squirrel usually finds its way back, anyway.

We use the other method too; filling feeders with safflower seed, at our house - in very vulnerably located feeders. Safflower is available at most good birding stores.