Squirrels can eat their body weight in food every single week. Like my cousin, they’ve never met a buffet they didn’t like! But if you take these steps, you can keep these furry marauders from swiping your bird food.
Know the Battlefield
Squirrels can jump 5 feet vertically and up to 12 feet horizontally. And they can fall 20 feet without a lick of damage. So, yeah, they’re fearless. Keep your feeders 15 feet away from trees so that squirrels don’t leap down on them. Make sure the top of your baffles are 5 feet up so that squirrels don’t use them as a stepping stool. Never let your feeder hang below the baffle. That’s an easy meal for a squirrel. (And the waste of a baffle!)
BWS cone baffles slide on from the side, then close shut. They’re a good choice if you already have a pole system in the ground and don’t want to uproot it to secure the baffle.
BWS torpedo baffles are great! Squirrels can’t climb up their sheer vertical face (though they’ll try and try and try...) These slip on over your pole system easy-peasy. The baffle rests on a collar that you mount to the central pole of your system.
4"X4" & 2"X2" POST BAFFLES
Is your feeder mounted on a wooden post? No problem. BWS has cone baffles made for both 4x4 and 2x2 posts. Like other cone baffles, they slide on from the side so there’s no need to pull your post out.
Like the name implies, these feeders are designed to slam the food source shut when that pudgy 1.5-pound squirrel hops on it. Yet they remain open to keep the food flowing when birds land for a meal. That’s because birds are super light and won’t trip the shut-off mechanism. Squirrels will.
These feeders are surrounded by a cage with 2”x2” square spaces between their bars. Songbirds can get through them and to the food all day long. Squirrels (and bully birds including European Starlings and Common Grackles) absolutely cannot. Guaranteed!
BWS DELUXE FINCH MIX OR NYJER SEED
Made up of tiny seeds, these will both pull in American Goldfinches and their other finchy cousins when placed in a finch-specific tube feeder. (They’re the ones with the tiny holes.) Neither BWS Deluxe Finch Mix or nyjer will attract squirrels, largely because the tiny seeds aren’t worth the gluttons’ time.
A lot of birds like safflower, especially Northern Cardinals. Squirrels aren’t crazy about it. That’s because safflower is bitter tasting. (Birds don’t have a sense of taste like mammals do. More on that later.) So, try removing all of the other seed from your feeders (except your finch feeders) and replacing it with safflower. Chances are it will drive the squirrels to a new food source. But keep in mind, they will probably come back eventually when you start stocking black oil sunflower again.
BRING THE HEAT!
OK, we humans have about 10,000 taste buds. And squirrels are probably around that mark, too. Birds, on the other hand, have less than 50 taste buds. That means birds can’t taste sensations like hot spice. But, whoa momma, squirrels sure can! So, buy BWS seed logs and suet that are already treated with capsaicin – the chemical extract that makes peppers hot. Or purchase capsaicin extract from BWS and mix it into your seed. Then watch mushroom clouds appear where the squirrels’ heads used to be!
KEEP ‘EM BUSY
Squirrels are like electricity...they’ll take the path of lease resistance every time. Purchasing a special squirrel feeder makes them work for their food (plus it’s darn entertaining!) Throwing some seed in a ground feeder will draw squirrels away from your bird feeders. BWS has ground feeders and squirrel-specific feeders that’ll keep furry invaders occupied all day long.