A bird feeder increases the value of any yard or garden. Just fill the feeder with bird seed, and you’d have colorful birds fleeting around your yard all day long. But the problem is, squirrels are also attracted to bird seed. So, how to stop squirrels from eating bird seed, that is the question. In this post, I will share the most effective yet natural way to deter squirrels from your bird feeders and bird seed.
Squirrels, cute as they may be, are pretty destructive. And frankly, they can be very pesky most of the time. They forage for food that’s not theirs, and they damage things along the way. These natural ways of deterring squirrels from bird seed are practical and easy to do.
Keep Squirrels from Eating Bird Seed – The Natural Ways
Hang Bird Feeders Away from Trees
The first thing you have to do is hang the bird feeders away from trees. Squirrels are prey to a lot of predators. They are skittish animals and would rather avoid being out in the open if they can help it.
Most squirrels will not stay away from the cover of trees (or the cover of anything, really) for very long. Even ground squirrels still like to stay near the cover of trees and bushes. So put your bird feeder in the middle of the yard where there is no cover.
The downside of this tip is that some small birds will also be wary about going to the bird feeder. Some birds also do not like being vulnerable out in the open.
Install a Squirrel Baffle
Unlike chipmunks, squirrels can climb even smooth metal poles. Although they will struggle to climb a PVC pipe that’s more than 8 inches in diameter, they can chew through the material.
Additionally, hanging the feeder on a fishing line is not always effective. Although squirrels can’t climb on thin lines, they can jump both vertically and horizontally.
So if you can’t use poles or hang the feeder to deter squirrels, use a baffle instead. A baffle is the most effective method of keeping squirrels away from the bird seed if the squirrel dares to climb to the bird feeder. You can buy a squirrel baffle from pet stores or online.
Rodents have a powerful sense of smell. They go wherever they smell food. But certain smells discourage them, or at the very least, they find unattractive. Squirrels, and other rodents, find the smell of certain spices unbearably pungent.
Squirrels hate the odor of cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, or garlic. Sprinkling your yard or the area around the bird seed with pepper will undoubtedly keep the pesky squirrels away for some time.
Additionally, mammals are supposed to hate spicy tastes. Only humans grew to love the heat of spicy foods. Capsaicin, the concentrated substance found in the seeds of peppers, triggers taste receptors among mammals. It also triggers pain which the body senses as heat. Rodents such as squirrels hate that feeling. But not birds.
In fact, birds are unaffected by capsaicin. They do not sense capsaicin in their food; they do not taste the spice. So if you sprinkle cayenne flakes on bird seed, it will keep squirrels away but not the birds.
Keep the Yard Clean of Bird Seed
If a squirrel finds bird seed on the ground near the trees, it will eat the seed. Then it will look for the source of the food. It finds a trail of bird seed leading to the bird feeder or bird seed container itself. Next thing you know, the squirrel has a new favorite eating place.
Keeping the yard clean of bird seed is not easy if you don’t have the right tools. A tray or platform below the bird feeder is just one way to keep the bird seeds from falling to the ground.
Of all the tips I’m sharing here, placing squirrel feeders around the yard is the kindest. Squirrels are convenient foragers. They would prefer food sources that are easily accessible. By making bird seed inaccessible and providing a viable food source, you stop squirrels from eating bird seed while not starving them out.
Besides, squirrels are very determined pesky pests. If they can’t get food from the bird feeder, they will seek out the bird seed container. And if they can’t get that, too, they will trouble you in some other annoying way.
Conclusion: Always Be Vigilant
Squirrels are very determined to disturb your peace. They will do anything to get food. I shared many methods here because you might need all of them to stop squirrels from eating the bird seed from the feeder or container.
But no matter how pesky the squirrels get, it’s best not to resort to trapping, setting predators on, or killing them. Instead, use these natural means of discouraging squirrels from terrorizing bird feeders. These methods are the best answers to how to stop squirrels from eating bird seed.