Asked on Jul 09, 2012

Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to keep squirrels out of my bird feeders?

Angela A
by Angela A
I have tried the crushed red pepper in the bird seed, and have tried putting vaseline on the pole that holds the feeders....any other suggestions? I will at times have one or two in the feeders, with 5 or 6 on the ground below...I dont mind them on the ground, but they've broken a couple of feeders already this year for me.... :(
  44 answers
  • Susan B Susan B on Jul 09, 2012
    I have heard that a collar like mechanism might help (ex. aluminum pie plate) something they can't climb over on the pole...good luck (and that is the cutest bird feeder ever!)
  • Funny you should ask, Angela! We just included this tip in our blog post - we'd love to know if it works! (Amazing Uses For WD-40 Protect A Bird Feeder: To keep squirrels from taking over a bird feeder, spray a generous amount of WD-40 on top of the feeder. The pesky squirrels will slide right off.)
  • Funny you should ask, Angela! We just included this tip in our blog post - we'd love to know if it works! (Amazing Uses For WD-40 Protect A Bird Feeder: To keep squirrels from taking over a bird feeder, spray a generous amount of WD-40 on top of the feeder. The pesky squirrels will slide right off.)
  • Angela A Angela A on Jul 09, 2012
    Thanks Susan! I will try that! oh, and found the feeder this week at Home Depot!
  • Angela A Angela A on Jul 09, 2012
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Helen T Helen T on Jul 09, 2012
    Well here is the squirrel proof feeder we got. it was fine till we installed the air conditioner then they jumped off it on to it reclining in the cage
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Jul 09, 2012
    before I got an Eliminator feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited, I hung my bird feeder on a cable between two trees. The squirrels couldn't jump that high.
  • 3po3 3po3 on Jul 09, 2012
    Someone here last week suggested cutting a hole in a frisbee and putting that on your bird feeder pole to keep the squirrels from climbing.
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Jul 10, 2012
    Unless they are jumping on from above... Honestly unless you put up a pole like a clothes line with a wire beween and small pieces of PVC pipe strung on the rope so that it rotates and the squirrels fall off...I don't know how to keep them out...I do know that switching to safflower seed in my feeders discouraged them greatly, but it also limited the number and type of birds that came to my feeders....I even bought a squirrel proof feeder and went out to see two squirrels trapped inside it one day....just stuffing themselves! The wild bird people told me to make a "cone" baffle out of sheet metal and put it on the pole...but it has to be high enough that they can't just jump on top ....
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 10, 2012
    I also have the Eliminator feeder Walter mentioned. It's expensive, but it works. Otherwise, you have to combine height and distance to hang your feeder in a place they can't reach.
  • Sharon C Sharon C on Jul 10, 2012
    Squirrels don't like to eat Safflower Oil Seed...Feed this, instead of what you are feeding!
  • Angela A Angela A on Jul 10, 2012
    Thanks guys! I will try these tips and see what works! These squirrels are not only driving me crazy, but my poor German Sheppard too! LOL.... he wants to get to them soooo bad, lol, I don't want to limit the birds that come to the feeder, because I have a mama bird feeding some babies in a birds nest in my back yard and I dont know what type of bird she is (she's in the pic above) and I dont want her to be one of the one's that would not come back because she didn't like the's a pic of the babies!!!
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 10, 2012
    I would want to keep mama around and happy, too!
  • Sandi M Sandi M on Jul 10, 2012
    We put out food for the squirrels, that way they have their own feast! They love corn.
  • Walter Reeves Walter Reeves on Jul 10, 2012
    In my experience, putting food out for any nuisance animal (rat, chipmunk, deer or squirrel) just brings more to the area.
  • Popular Mechanics Popular Mechanics on Jul 10, 2012
    I had the same problem, until one of my fellow editors at Popular Mechanics assigned this story. Now I have a good time watching the squirrels try, try, try to reach the feeder...only to drop to the ground and try again. It's good for the birds, frustrating for the squirrels, and great entertainment!
    • Paulette Paulette on Jun 08, 2018

      Sounds like an awesome idea. If only I had trees that were this close together. May need to consider alternative options. Thanks for sharing.

  • Angela A Angela A on Jul 10, 2012
    Thanks Joe, we'll have to try this!
  • Troye M Troye M on Jul 10, 2012
    I saw somewhere..where a person had put a pipe over the pole at the top, squirrels can't hold on to it and slide down !!!!
  • Kathy R Kathy R on Jul 10, 2012
    I have the Homestead 3201S Super Stop A Squirrel Wild Bird Feeder. Had it for 20 years and never had one Squirrel in it. It sits under 2 huge pecan trees on a sheppard hook in the grass.
  • Joe - great article! Ahh, good times, sitting outside, sipping a nice cold margarita watching the squirrels try, to no avail, to reach that feeder! I need one of these!
  • Paul M Paul M on Jul 10, 2012
    I have hung mine from a long tree limb about 15' below the tree and 6' off the ground using a nylon string. I first did this using a small rope and the squirrels were climbing down the rope and getting in the feeder. I changed it to a nylon string and they chewed the string in two and made the feeder fall then got into that. I finally used a stainless steel air craft cable, 1/8", and that was the end of the squirrels getting into my feeder. They can't climb it, they can't chew it, they can't jump that high so they can't get in it. I have seen them sitting on the ground looking up as if they were wishing they could jump that high but that is as close as they get anymore.
  • Jeanette Jeanette on Jul 10, 2012
    I agree with the previous poster. A piece of pvc sunk into the ground around the pole, the feeders placed at least 4 feet from the nearest tree. Pole should allow the feeder to be at least 4 feet from the ground. Voila....problem solved.
  • Robin H Robin H on Jul 10, 2012
    If you put a hole in the middle of the bottom of a 3 gal. or larger plastic pot you bought with a plant in it than have a stack of them somewhere, use them. place them up the pole about 12/16 inches from bird feeder. The little suckers can't figure out how to get around inside the pot, takes awhile to figure they can make the hole bigger by eating it , than u just replace it with another pot u have saved. Very simple, Very cheap.
  • Sandi M Sandi M on Jul 11, 2012
    @ Walter....I don't find squirrels a nuisance. We enjoy watching them play in the yard. I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure!
    • MARY ANN MARY ANN on Jun 17, 2014
      @Sandi M I like watching them too. But I can't afford to keep feeding them. Once the word is out there is bird food out they come in droves. They stay & eat all day.
  • Angela A Angela A on Jul 11, 2012
    checked on the babies...
  • Donna R Donna R on Jul 11, 2012
    Like Sandi, we enjoy watching the squirrels eating with the birds. We have a wishing well that is actually a bird feeder. It has a large tray on it and I put the bird seed on that. The squirrels can't break it. They all eat side by side and just get along.
  • RUTH M RUTH M on Jul 11, 2012
    • Donna R Donna R on Jun 18, 2014
      @RUTH M I find feeding the squirrels keeps them from looking for food in flowerpots and elsewhere.
  • Sandi M Sandi M on Jul 12, 2012
    @Ruth M. We only have a few squirrels so we don't have that problem. That would be a problem.
  • Rachel Bivens-Rees Rachel Bivens-Rees on Mar 14, 2014
    I love feeding the birds. infact have begun a feeder collection. I bought a cute tube feeder for the front tree so I could watch from my froont dinning table,the squirrles take the lid off and go nose first all the way down. No matter what I have tried I cannot deter these creatures. they have ruined 3 feeders and stolen all bird food. I love watching them play, hate that they break and steal my feeders and food. Not to mention drive my dogs bananas. HELP!
  • Rachel Bivens-Rees Rachel Bivens-Rees on Mar 14, 2014
    and, we have so many trees I can't deture them. I swear they fly from 1 to the other laughing at me.
  • Glenna Kennedy Glenna Kennedy on Jun 17, 2014
    Guess I am weird but I actually Like the squirrels and chipmunks at our feeders. They are clever little buggers and will soon figure out how to solve the problem of getting into a feeder. You'd have to hang the feeder 15 feet high or else they can jump from the ground up to something placed only 5-6 off the ground. How I solved the problem? I buy peanuts and toss them on the ground for them to eat..or occasionally I buy a cob of corn and mount it on an L shaped wooden feeder that they can sit at and chew on the cob. We need to learn to live with nature, not continually fighting it. Squirrels, chipmunks like birds are only trying to survive, feed their young etc.
    • Donna R Donna R on Jun 18, 2014
      @Glenna Kennedy Not weird. I totally agree. I love watching the squirrels as much as the birds.
  • Katiesaurus Rex Katiesaurus Rex on Jun 17, 2014
    I mentioned this feeder on a different thread. I've tried them all, and it's the only bird feeder that works and is truly squirrel-proof. You can get it at Lowes, I just found a picture of it here
  • Dinah O'Neal Skidmore Dinah O'Neal Skidmore on Jan 03, 2015
    I put my seed in an old large popcorn tin, sprinkle the cayenne pepper with it and it got rid of mine and doesn't bother the birds....they have no taste buds! try the pepper this way. I use crushed from Sams and it last a long time...
  • Linda Tocci Lourenzo Linda Tocci Lourenzo on May 05, 2017

    I put a slinky on the pole attached at the top. when a squirrel tries to climb it just slides down. here is a news article about this idea. also is a pic of my bird feeder but not sure you can see the slinky.

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jul 08, 2017

    I work at a daycare and we love watching the squirrels antics lol

  • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jul 08, 2017

    You should watch Charles Notap' s utube video ! His not only keeps Squirrels out but also larger birds and it is "THE" most beautiful birdfeeder i have ever seen ! And it looks so easy to build as long as you have all the tools that he uses. Or you can catch it on under "how-to-make-an-awsome-squirrel-proof-bird-feeder". Hope this helps .)

  • Kin9494215 Kin9494215 on Jul 08, 2017

    Get a solar electric fence charger at Harbor freight.

    won't hurt them but they certainly don't like that shock

  • Paulette Paulette on Jun 08, 2018

    Ok, here is my latest attempt at deterring squirrels from my bird feeders.

    At the advice of staff at the wild bird store, I purchased some hot pepper suet bark and safflower seed and mixed it in with my song bird feed. This resulted in about 75% success, but also reduce the number of beautifully colored song birds that normally came to feed. Seeing that I did have some success with this, but not happy at the reduction in song birds, I turned to this site for additional answers. Armed with some experience of keeping them at bay, combined with some of your ideas, here is my latest attempt.

    First I sprayed by shepherds hooks and the top of my feeders very liberally with WD40. Then I mixed my seed with about 70% song bird feed, 20% hot pepper suet bark, and 10% safflower seed. I added about 1/4 cup of very hot Swad, finely ground Indian Chili Pepper (available at an International grocery store). If you've ever used this, you know that a pinch in a large pot of chili goes a long way. I then sprinkled in just enough Texas Pete to get the powder to adhere to the seed. Filled my feeders, sprinkled the hot chili pepper on top of the feeders and on the ground below. I've been told that the hot chili powder and Texas Pete should not hurt the birds. However, if anyone knows differently, please let me know.

    I'll keep you posted on how the squirrels react.

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 22, 2023

    Create a squirrel repellent spray

    Create a homemade squirrel repellent. Another option is to make up your own squirrel repellent using cayenne pepper, onion, jalapeno, and water. Any hot peppers will do for the same thing, however.

    When you create your spray, put it into a spray bottle and put it everywhere you want to prevent the squirrels from going such as around bird feeders, porches, etc.

    Change/limit the amount of food

    Change how much food you give the birds. For example, use just enough food for one feeding and then keep watch. Once the birds are finished, bring the bird feeder indoors, rather than leaving it out all the time where other animals can get into it. This is going to require more maintenance than some other options, however.

  • Wendy Wendy on Apr 16, 2024

    Vaseline is sticky and wd40 is messy, i use car wax on the pole, as long as it is still smooth as any bumps help them grip. Was lasts longer and it’s kind of fun to see them jump up and slide down.

    HOWEVER, the BEST way is to invest in a baffle, just make sure it is high enough off the ground so they can’t jump over it and, of course, the pole can’t be near tree limbs, bushes or birdbaths that help them climb.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 18, 2024

    Site them away from things squirels can leap from.

  • Hi Angela! You can try these steps:

    • Foil Super Squirrels.
    • Baffle the Squirrels.
    • Put a Slinky on the Bird Feeder Pole to Stop Squirrels.
    • String Soda Bottles on a Wire.
    • Try Caged Bird Feeders.
    • Switch Up Your Seed.
    • Pick the Proper Pole.
    • Keep the Ground Clean Under Feeders.

    Hope this helps!