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Squirrels can be annoying! They are highly intelligent and agile animals that are always on the lookout for food. This can make it incredibly difficult if you like bird watching and have a bird feeder in your yard.

If you are troubled by these furry friends, it is important to know how to make a squirrel proof bird feeder. The article below looks at three simple methods for keeping squirrels away and letting your garden birds enjoy all the food without interruptions!

Method 1: The Squirrel Baffle

A squirrel baffle is an essential item to have on your bird feeder pole. The baffle does exactly as you would expect – it baffles the squirrel and prevents it from accessing the feeder.

This is achieved via the shape and positioning of the item. Baffles prevent squirrels from gripping onto the pole and thus climbing up or down towards the bird feeder. There are two types of common squirrel baffle, and both can be made from scratch.

Wraparound Squirrel Baffle

The wraparound baffle looks like a veterinary cone that pets wear to stop them from scratching wounds. It can also be more cylindrical and narrow in shape. These are the two common designs.

The wraparound design is meant to fit around the bird feeder pole underneath the actual feeding station. The baffle’s shape means that when a squirrel climbs up the pole or fence post, they cannot go any further than the baffle and are thus thwarted!

baffle design

To create a baffle, all you need is a sheet of metal or malleable plastic. Cut a rectangular shape from the material approximately 1ft deep and long enough to be wrapped completely to form a cone shape.

Make angled cuts at each end of the rectangle to make the cone shape. You should then be able to wrap the sheet and join the two angled edges together, creating the cone shape.

The cone can simply be attached underneath your feeder using nails or screws. Make sure the cone is wide enough so that squirrels simply can’t jump around it. Also, make sure it is high enough off the ground so that they cannot jump on top of it and continue their ascent to the bird feeder.

Hanging Squirrel Baffle

This type of DIY squirrel proof bird feeder uses the same design. However, it must be positioned above the bird feeder.

The idea here is that if a squirrel tries to jump down onto the bird feeder, it will instead hit the baffle, lose its grip, and fall to the floor. Don’t worry – they won’t get hurt as squirrels are incredibly agile and have excellent balance.

If chains suspend your bird feeders, you can simply attach the baffle to the same chain. Make sure that it is big enough to cover the entire feeder; at minimum, it must have a longer diameter than the widest part of the bird feeder.

To reduce the chance of the squirrels latching onto any baffle, consider using grease on the pole and cones.

Method 2: The Anti-Squirrel Cage

To take your DIY squirrel proof bird feeder one step further, you can add a protective cage around your feeder. The best squirrel proof bird feeders use a combination of baffles, cages, and hatch droppers.

Using these elements together gives you the best chance to continue your bird watching in peace without a squirrel invasion!

The idea behind an anti-squirrel cage is to prevent squirrels from accessing the bird seeds while still allowing your feathered friends to feed.

Anyone can make a DIY squirrel-proof bird feeder cage. All you need is something like chicken wire. The chicken wire must have large enough squares that birds can still feed through but small enough to prevent squirrels from accessing the bird feeder. It may take some trial and error to find the right size.

Once you have the material, cut it to size and make a cylindrical shape with it. The cylinder should ideally be the same diameter as the baffle you have suspended above the feeder.

You must then join the two ends together to form a secure connection. Be warned – squirrels are resourceful and have been known to prise cages open! Hence, you must use rigid connecting materials like metal wire to secure the cage.

Once the wire cylinder is complete, simply attach it directly beneath your baffle so that it covers the entire length of the bird feeder.

It is important to watch your bird feeder when you have attached the cage. As mentioned, you may need to adjust the cage or use a different size of chicken wire.

Watch the bird feeder for a few days to make sure that you have made a squirrel-proof bird feeder from which birds can still eat birdseed!

Method 3: Create a Separate Squirrel Feeding Station

Another potential way to make a squirrel-proof bird feeder is to distract the squirrels and keep their attention elsewhere.

If you have a garden with trees or backs onto a forest, consider creating a separate feeding station for the squirrels.

This station should be as far away from your squirrel-proof feeder as possible. Squirrel feeders are typically square wooden boxes that hang from trees. These have a small opening or hatch like a bird feeder.

feeding station

You fill these feeders with things like dry nuts or peanuts. Hopefully, you can remove your squirrel problem by giving them their feeding station and food source. Please be aware that depending on the number of squirrels and their appetite, they may eat their nuts and then move back to the bird seeds!

However, squirrels and birds can coexist, each with its food source.

Bird Feeder FAQs

Do bird feeders attract rats?

Yes, bird feeders can attract rats and other rodents. This happens mainly when bird food falls on the ground. To prevent this, make sure that you regularly clean the area underneath your bird feeder to remove any excess seeds from the ground.

Do bird feeders attract predators?

Yes! Predators typically study the movements and habits of prey. Therefore, if your feathered friends return to the same feeder each day at the same time, they can become susceptible. Typical predators include cats and birds of prey. You simply have to be vigilant and scare these potential threats away.

Is it a good idea to have bird feeders?

Yes and no. On the negative side, a bird feeder can be a breeding ground for disease due to many birds eating from the same area. However, a bird feeder is also an amazing thing that can give birds much-needed food in tough conditions. Providing that you are responsible, there is no reason why a homemade squirrel proof bird feeder cannot be a good thing.

Choose One or Feed Both

You should now have a clear idea of how to make a squirrel proof bird feeder. Squirrels do have a right to exist and to get their nuts!

However, they should not interfere with your feeders as this can distress the birds and reduce their food source. In an ideal world, you should create a DIY squirrel-proof bird feeder and provide a safe habitat and food for hungry squirrels – both can be achieved!

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