If you have a bird feeder in your yard, you will surely have had the experience of finding a squirrel sitting there, eating its fill and keeping birds from getting access to the feeder. No matter how cute you think squirrels are, you presumably want birds to be able to eat from the bird feeder. But keeping them away is a challenge, because of their intelligence and persistence, as this video illustrates:
So if you really do want to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder, are there any options other than guarding it and chasing them with a water gun or constantly smearing the feeder and pole with vaseline? Some have tried relatively ineffective squirrel baffles (a disk or cone to keep squirrels from climbing the pole), greasing the pole the feeder is on, and many other tactics, but often without success.
That’s why I thought I should share our own experience. Since making our own squirrel baffle in the way I outline below, we have seen lots of birds but no squirrels at our bird feeder.
Here’s a picture of our homemade squirrel baffle:
To make it, simply do the following:
1) Take an empty bag of birdseed (the largest size you have available).
2) One end will already be open. Open the other end sufficiently to be able to fit over the top of the pole your bird feeder is on.
3) With the larger opening downwards, place the bag over the pole/pole through the bag until the smaller (upper) opening is just below where the bird feeder is.
That’s it! Be advised that if the bag is torn even slightly, particularly near the top, squirrels will use those weak points to tear and gnaw their way through. But otherwise, we’ve found that the bag is large, flexible and smooth enough that if a squirrel tries to jump onto it, they will rarely if ever be able to grab hold. And if they try to go up the inside, it blocks their way completely in a manner that smaller squirrel baffles do not, effectively preventing them from jumping onto the edge of and climbing around the baffle.
If you find that squirrels are circumventing the baffle, there is another configuration you can try. Simply tie the bottom end of the bag as well as the top. This will create, in essence, a “balloon” that squirrels will find it hard to grab onto and climb up.
I hope you find this useful. I will add that since we managed to stop our squirrels from getting access to our bird feeder, they have repaid us by stealing all (yes, I do mean all) the fruit from our fruit trees before they are ripe enough for us to eat them. They used to steal some, but I guess they are hungrier now! If we figure out a way to deal with that problem, I will share it.
If you try out this homemade squirrel baffle, please do leave a comment to let me know how well it works for you!
Let me conclude with a picture that will connect this post to one of the regular themes of this blog, however tangentially: