How to Keep Squirrels from Eating Bird Seed

Are squirrels getting in the way of your bird feeding hobby? It's not easy when they eat all the seed. But, you don't have to give up. There are ways to protect your bird seed from these little foragers.

Close your eyes and picture a scene where squirrel-free bird feeders exist. Your seeds are all for the birds. You can turn this vision into reality. By using the right tactics, you can keep the clever squirrels at bay.


Keeping squirrels away from bird feeders focuses on putting the feeders high up. Squirrels can jump up about 5 feet, out 7 feet, and down 9 feet. By placing bird feeders at least 5-9 feet above the ground, you challenge squirrels.

With bird feeders high up, squirrels struggle to reach them. This gives birds, like hummingbirds, a clear path to food. Squirrels trying to get a snack face a tough climb.

Use tall poles or hanging setups for bird feeders. Hang feeders about 9-10 feet from a pole and 5 feet above ground with wire. This way, squirrels have trouble but birds don't.

Squirrel Jumping Abilities
Maximum Height
Maximum Distance
Maximum Downwards
5 feet
7 feet
9 feet

Raising bird feeders high keeps squirrels off. Stick to the 5-7-9 rule to position feeders out of squirrels' easy reach.

Recheck feeder heights regularly to outsmart squirrels. This simple action can keep food for the birds only.

Use Wire to Outsmart Squirrels

Hanging bird feeders with wire keeps them safe from squirrels. Make sure the feeders are 9-10 feet from a pole. They should also be 5 feet off the ground. This way, the bird seed is out of reach. Choose strong wire that can last outdoors and keep squirrels away.

For your bird feeders, pick steel or galvanized wire for its strength. This type of wire won't easily break or wear out. You can get this wire at hardware stores or online shops.

Wire-suspended feeders don't just protect the seed; they look good too. They add beauty to your backyard and keep squirrels away from the bird seed.

Make sure the wire you use is strong enough to hold the feeder and the birds. Check the wire often for any damage. If you see any problems, fix them right away to keep the birds safe.

Benefits of Using Wire for Bird Feeders

Deters Squirrels
Keeps Bird Seed Safe
Enhances Backyard Aesthetics
By suspending bird feeders with wire, you can outsmart squirrels and prevent them from accessing the bird seed.
Wire suspension ensures that your bird seed remains protected and provides an uninterrupted food source for your feathered friends.
Hanging bird feeders with wire adds a visual appeal to your backyard, creating a pleasant and welcoming environment for both birds and birdwatchers.

Using wire for your bird feeders is a great idea. It keeps squirrels away and lets you enjoy watching the birds. With this simple method, your backyard becomes a welcoming place for the birds.

Purchase a Squirrel Baffle

If squirrels keep getting to your bird feeder's seed, a squirrel baffle could be your answer. Many find it works well. A squirrel baffle is a metal device that fits on top of your feeder. It blocks the way for squirrels by making it hard for them to hold on. This means more bird seed for your flying friends.

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Many types of squirrel baffles exist, with various shapes and abilities. A wrap-around baffle is one such design. It goes around the feeder's pole, stopping squirrels from climbing up. It's simple to put on and keeps squirrels off your bird feed.

A torpedo-style baffle is another good pick. It stops squirrels when placed where they can’t simply jump to the feeder. Its shape does not provide squirrels with a way to the seed. This lets birds feed without being disturbed.

If you want top-notch defense against squirrels, you might like a dome baffle. These large, dome-shaped devices stop squirrels from getting near hanging feeders. They’re very good at this job. Dome baffles help birds eat in peace by making it impossible for squirrels to feed from the top.

Choosing the right squirrel baffle means looking at your feeder and squirrel activity. Look at different types and what people say about them. Also, ask bird lovers for advice. Websites like Amazon have many options, including the Audubon Torpedo Steel Squirrel Baffle and iPrimio Deluxe Squirrel-Raccoon Stopper.

Expert Tip: Proper Placement of the Baffle

Where you put the baffle matters a lot. Make sure it's high enough that squirrels can't jump past it. Place your feeder between eight to ten feet from anything that could help a squirrel jump to it. This includes trees or fences. A baffle near the feeder also makes it hard for squirrels to grab on. This keeps them away from suet feeders too.

Choose Your Bird Seeds Wisely

Selecting the proper bird seeds can stop squirrels from getting into your feeders. Squirrels like certain seeds, but if you choose the ones they don't like, you'll have less trouble. This also means more birds will visit.

Safflower, nyjer, and white proso millet seeds are good choices. Squirrels tend to stay away from them. They make a tasty meal for birds while keeping squirrels off your feed.

Add dehydrated cayenne pepper to your seed mix as well. Squirrels don't like capsaicin, the hot stuff in peppers. Birds are not bothered by it. So, this mix keeps squirrels away without harm.

Try different ways to see what works in your area. Every yard is unique. Mixing strategies, like using the right seeds and cayenne, helps. It creates a place for birds without inviting squirrels.

Bird Seeds
Squirrel Attraction
Safflower seeds
Not attracted to squirrels
Nyjer seeds
Not attracted to squirrels
White proso millet
Not attracted to squirrels

Spice Up Your Feed

While birds can't feel pepper spiciness, squirrels are very sensitive to it. Adding dehydrated cayenne pepper to bird seed helps. It makes a natural squirrel repellent that doesn't harm birds.

The Carolina Reaper Chilis are the world's hottest peppers. They scare squirrels with their strong capsaicin. This keeps the squirrels away from your bird feeders.

Cayenne pepper proves that a little goes a long way. It's cost-effective for protecting your bird seed. The capsaicin's heat, like a jalapeño's, is felt by squirrels.

After using Carolina Reaper Powder on peanuts, fewer squirrels ate them. The squirrels that did eat them reacted by shaking their heads and running off. This method effectively deters squirrels from your feeder.

The next day, all the peanuts were gone. This indicated that birds ate them. Birds eat peanuts whole, unlike squirrels. Seeing this means your bird seed remains squirrel-free.

Cayenne pepper benefits not just your feed but also your plants. It protects plants like tomatoes and spinach. This protection deters squirrels from damaging your garden.

Using natural repellents is great, but always check local laws on wildlife feeding. It may be wrong to feed certain animals. This can harm them or affect their natural habits.

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Put a Spin on It

Keeping squirrels away from bird feeders can be tough. But, a little motion goes a long way. Spinning hooks and feeders specially made to spin can do the trick. They stop squirrels from getting to the bird seed.

Squirrels can zip around, jumping amazing distances. Yet, spinning objects make them pause. The way these items move is too wild for squirrels to handle. This keeps them from eating the bird seed.

Head to your local hardware store to find these spinning products. You can easily add them to your existing bird feeder setup. The spin in design helps keep the squirrels away.

squirrel-proof bird feedersPin

Not only do spinning items discourage squirrels but they also make bird watching fun. It's exciting to watch birds deal with the spinning feeders. This brings joy to your backyard.

Place the spinning feeders at the right height. They should be high up, at least 9 or 10 feet, and 5 feet from the ground. This deters squirrels effectively.

By using spinning feeders, you create a bird-friendly space. This way, you get to enjoy nature without worrying about squirrel theft. It's a win-win for you and the birds.

Feed the Squirrels, Too

It might sound strange, but sharing food with squirrels can keep them from your bird feeders. Offer them their own feeders filled with tasty items like peanuts or dried corn. This helps distract them and satisfies their appetite without them raiding your bird feeders. It's a simple way to keep both squirrels and birds happy.

Many types of squirrel feeders can be found, from basic wooden ones to stylish metal choices. You can also get creative and make your own feeder from leftover wood. Just be sure the feeder is strong and well-attached to stop squirrels from tipping it over or taking the food.

These feeders make it easy for squirrels to eat and keep bird seed safe in your feeders. Offering squirrels their own food decreases their need to do daring stunts to get bird food. This approach protects your bird feeders and promotes peace between all creatures in your yard.

Try a Slinky... Really!

Keeping squirrels away from your bird feeders can be fun. One creative way is to use a slinky.

A slinky makes a good barrier to stop squirrels. When a squirrel tries to climb it, the slinky moves. This makes the squirrel fall back. It's not just helpful but also fun to watch.

A simple slinky can keep your bird seed safe. This ensures your bird friends have their food all to themselves.

Squirrel Deterrent Method
Slinky around bird feeder
Effective in preventing squirrel access to bird seed
Wire suspended bird feeders
Deters squirrels if suspended at least 9-10 feet from a pole and 5 feet above the ground
Squirrel baffles
Effective deterrent against squirrels accessing bird feeders

While many squirrel deterrents are sold today, some of the best are simple. A slinky is a great, cheap way to keep squirrels away from birdseed.

Another Tip: Keep Your Yard Tidy

Squirrel deterrents work better in a clean yard. Mess around the feeders draws squirrels. Clean up often to make your yard less attractive to them.

Use different tricks to keep squirrels out. Things like squirrel baffles and special bird feeders can help a lot. Change the birdseed type too. This mix stops squirrels from getting to your feeders.

The aim is to make your yard tough for squirrels. This way, your birds get to eat in peace.

Upgrade to a Caged Bird Feeder

Looking for a better way to keep squirrels off your bird feeders? An upgrade to a caged bird feeder could be the answer. These feeders have small openings that let birds reach the seed but stop squirrels.

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Caged bird feeders create a barrier that squirrels find hard to overcome. Their small size and quickness mean they can't get to the seed. This way, your bird friends always have enough to eat.

Choose a caged bird feeder that is strong and well-made. It should be able to handle squirrels trying to get at the food. A feeder with a metal cage is a good choice because it's chew-proof and keeps the seed safe.

Some top caged bird feeders are:

  • Squirrel Buster Plus
  • Squirrel Buster Classic

Setting up a caged bird feeder is easy. Just place it where birds can get to it and squirrels cannot. Make sure there are no branches, fences, or other items close by that might help squirrels reach the feeder.

With a caged bird feeder, you can watch pretty birds without the squirrel trouble. Remember to clean and refill the feeder often. This makes a nice home for the visiting birds.

Effectively keeps squirrels out while allowing birds to access the seed
May be more expensive than traditional bird feeders
Sturdy construction prevents squirrels from chewing through
Requires proper placement to prevent squirrels from accessing the feeder
Available in various sizes and designs to suit different bird species
Squirrels may attempt to hang on the outer cage and reach for the seed

Choose PVC or Copper Poles

The pole you pick affects how well you can keep squirrels away from your bird feeders. PVC or copper poles work best to stop squirrels from getting to the bird feed. These materials make it harder for squirrels to climb up.

Squirrels find it hard to climb smooth surfaces. PVC and copper poles are great for this. They make it tough for squirrels to get to the feeders.

Using PVC or copper poles makes the area around your bird feeder bad for squirrels. Since these surfaces are smooth, squirrels can't grip them well. This means you protect the seed from squirrels better.

Make sure your PVC or copper poles are tall enough, following the 5-7-9 rule. Hang the feeder high, away from other things, and far enough from the pole itself. This system makes it less likely that squirrels will find their way to the bird seed.

You can also add squirrel baffles for extra protection. These are metal discs or cones that block squirrels from going up the poles.

Material Selection Table

Feeder Pole Material
Squirrel Deterrent?

Choosing PVC or copper for your bird feeder poles makes a big difference. It keeps the squirrels away and lets the birds eat in peace.


Keeping squirrels away from bird feeders is hard, but it's doable with proper strategies. Using both squirrel deterrents and bird-friendly solutions helps keep your bird seed safe.

Getting feeders designed to be squirrel-proof, with small openings, can stop them from reaching the seed. Also, choosing birdseed like safflower and nyjer, which squirrels don't like, can help keep them away.

Another way to control squirrels is by spraying a mix of white vinegar and water outside. Adding plants like lavender or marigolds, and using domes or cages around feeders, also works. These steps can help create a safe zone for birds to feed.

Squirrels are smart and quick, but with consistent efforts and smart moves, you can win. By using squirrel deterrents and various bird feeding techniques, you'll enjoy watching birds in peace. This way, both the birds and you will appreciate your outdoor space more.

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