Many people enjoy placing bird feeders on their property to encourage seasonal songbirds to stay nearby and brighten up their yards. However, traditional bird feeders are easily plundered by other animals, with squirrels being particularly adept seed thieves.
To provide food exclusively for local and migratory birds, you need a model like the Squirrel Buster Plus Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder. This high-quality, durable bird feeder uses a lever mechanism that prevents squirrels from eating all your seeds when their weight is placed on the device. It is a simple, effective way to keep your bird food safe from greedy intruders.
Some people fear purchasing certain bird feeders because they worry the design will injure squirrels that attempt to take from them. However, squirrel-proof bird feeders are meant to discourage, not harm. The best squirrel-proof bird feeders create an obstacle that squirrels, after failing to procure seeds or suet, will determine to be not worth attempting to overcome and eventually ignore. Squirrel-proof bird feeders do not trap or otherwise capture squirrels.
Squirrels are intelligent, persistent, acrobatic animals. Able to quickly navigate treetop branches thanks to their quick reflexes and nimble hands, they are expert problem solvers and will go to great lengths to access a reliable food source. Because of this, it may take some time to determine which style of bird feeder is most effective at keeping unwanted guests out. What some squirrels can figure out easily may leave others stumped. Be prepared for some potential trial and error as you see which models work best for you.
Some squirrel-proof bird feeders merely surround the food source with a cage or mesh squirrels are unable to reach into. Others close off access to the food inside with small doors that shut when the weight of a squirrel pulls down on the feeder. Still others include electronic components that spin, preventing squirrels from being able to grasp the feeder long enough to grab any food.
A baffle is a large dome or plate at the top of a bird feeder that does not allow a squirrel to get a good grip as it wobbles under the animal’s weight. Some squirrel-proof bird feeders include a baffle in addition to other challenging features, although you can purchase them separately for an additional line of defense.
Bird feeders that close off access to seeds under the weight of a squirrel can potentially prevent larger birds from eating. A feeder that allows you to adjust the amount of weight needed for it to seal away its food supply ensures that bigger birds can take advantage of your generosity. Depending on the weight of your local birds and squirrels, you may have to make this adjustment a few times to fine-tune who gets a free meal and who stays out.
Some bird feeders are designed to mount to a pole while others are meant to hang. Select a bird feeder that allows you to mount it as you desire, keeping in mind that each mounting option requires different considerations when it comes to how to best prevent squirrels from eating your bird food.
Basic squirrel-proof bird feeders, such as those that simply enclose the food in a cage, can cost as little as $15-$20. More advanced models that include electronically activated deterrents and heavy-duty components can cost up to $130.
A. Many people view squirrels as pests. They can be destructive to peoples’ homes and property with their nesting and foraging habits, and when given easy access to a feeder, they often bully birds to keep them away. Because of their size and habit of storing caches of food for the winter, they can make short work of a bird feeder’s seed supply by hoarding all of its contents in a matter of minutes.
A. Yes. However, the installation of a squirrel feeder will not discourage them from raiding your bird feeder. Squirrels are more than happy to help themselves to all available food supplies, eating what they can and hiding the rest elsewhere.
A. While squirrels can become tame and will often take food directly from your hand, they are wild animals and should not be disturbed, pet or touched. In spite of their cute, fluffy appearance, squirrels are capable of delivering a painful bite. They can also harbor potentially fatal illnesses such as rabies.
What you need to know: This bird feeder seals off access to its seeds when the weight of a squirrel is placed on its perch ring.
What you’ll love: Simply designed and built to last, this feeder keeps your birds satisfied while discouraging squirrels thanks to its closing hatches. Adjustable sensitivity means you can still permit access by some larger birds if you wish.
What you should consider: It’s a bit on the expensive side for such a simple mechanism.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Keep the squirrels at bay with this bird feeder that encloses food in a cage.
What you’ll love: This feeder is light enough to hang easily and is made from durable steel and aluminum.
What you should consider: This feeder is designed to allow only small birds to access the food within, but some users report that some large species are still able to reach it.
What you need to know: This feeder features a motorized perch designed to prevent squirrels from hanging onto it.
What you’ll love: When this feeder senses the weight of a squirrel, it engages a motor attached to its perch that causes it to begin spinning. Made from quality materials, it is designed for all-weather use.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.