Now That You Are Aware of Squirrels, How to You Keep Them Away From Your Bird Feeder?

October is Squirrel Awareness Month

In last week’s blog I cited Bill Adler, Junior’s book Outwitting Squirrels. In it he offers advice on deterring squirrels by means mechanical and odorous. I promised more information on keeping squirrels out of your bird feeder, and here it is:

The critter control handbook       The Critter Control Handbook: Pro Secrets for Stopping Sneaky Squirrels & Other Crafty Critters In Their Tracks / Dan Hershey

Hershey brings twenty years of experience as a licensed Nusance Wildlife Control Officers to this book.  And can you guess the most likely animal to be a nusance? That’s right, the number one source of complaints, at least in New York State, is squirrels.  On the off chance your headaches are the result of some other nusance, Hershey starts with identifing the culprit by the damage it's done.  Then he presents your options. Do you want to handle the problem yourself or hire a contractor?  Do you want to use a leathal or nonleathal solution? What means might you use: deterrants, chemical repellants, or traps?  What kind of trap? The list of the usual suspects and their typical mode of operations comes next.  Also included are plans and designs for a garbage can trap, a snapping turtle trap, a homemade chimney cap, and bait stations.

Squirrel Wars   Squirrel Wars: Backyard Wildlife Battles & How to Win Them / by George H. Harrison; edited by Kit Harrison

Harrison claims, “Public Enemy Number One in America’s backyards is a one-pound busybody with industrial-strength teeth and a luxuriously bushy tail: the grey squirrel.” (page 15)  Although he gives them top billing, squirrels are only the first of many garden pests that he deals with in this book.  Also on his list are raccoons, house cats, deer, bears, rabbits, skunks, hawks, rats, bully birds, woodchucks, opossums, woodpeckers, and insects.  His solutions for the squirrel are to baffle them, cage them out, trap them, offend their sense of taste or smell, invest in a squirrel-proof birdfeeder, or learn to live with them.  Offensive odors and tastes he suggests are Cayenne pepper, human hair, mothballs, dried blood, and human or predator urine.  However, especially with the last two, reapplication is necessary after rain.

Squirrel Wars: [videorecording] and How to Win Them / by George H. Harrison

The video version is just about squirrels.  Harrison interviews a psychologist who blew the top off his bird feeder and a hole in his living room floor in a vain attempt to keep a squirrel out of his bird feeder. Harrison goes on to give the optimum environmental measurements for the proper placement of bird feeders where squirrels will not bother them.  He shows effective baffles that will deter squirrels.  He interviews squirrel expert Vagn Flyger about their behavior, and touches briefly on how to extract them from your home or shed and how to keep them away from your garden bulbs with red pepper.

Here’s the consensus of the experts on how to keep the squirrels out of the bird food:

1. Offend them with Bad Taste or Offensive Odor

     Bad Taste of Red Pepper

2. Baffle them     

Slinky makes a good baffle

3. Cage them out    

Cage the Bird Feed In and the Squirrels Out

4. Use a high tech feeder to frustrate their efforts or to flip them off 

Catapult Them Off the Feeder

Adler and Harrison, conclude with the suggestion that you may want to enhance these methods by adding protection insurance. This is done by putting out easy to get at food for the squirrels in a separate location.

Next week: Cooking with Squirrels