Squirrels driving you nuts? Easy solutions to rid your bird feeders of common backyard pests

The number one question we get asked at Armstrong Bird Food is how to keep backyard pests away from bird feeders. This is a problem for birders for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they feel responsible for the well-being and safety of their backyard birds, and secondly, they don’t like to see the bird food going to waste when predators such as squirrels, chipmunks, cats, raccoons and in some cases even bears come to visit.

It’s not hard to understand why pests are attracted to bird feeders. Wouldn’t you jump on free, accessible, tasty food if you had the chance? The key to keeping your backyard and your food safe is to take accessible and tasty bird food off the menu for these unwanted visitors.

Depending on the severity of your situation, there are a number of solutions you can try. And keep in mind many of today’s best birders often employ multiple tricks at once, ensuring that their feeders are kept safe from a variety of sneaky visitors. Here are the top tricks to help protect your feeders, no matter the season:

1. Review the position of your bird feeder

Where your bird feeder is placed can have a significant impact on the accessibility of your food to predators. For example, when feeders are close to poles, trees, garden accessories, sheds or hanging branches, these create easy jump off points for squirrels and other rascals. Take the time to check out the placement of your feeder. If you think there’s threat, try moving it to a better space in your yard such as mounted on a pole, free from any obstructions.

2. Spice up the menu

There are great products out there, such as Armstrong’s new Hot Pepper Suets and Squirrel Proof mix, that deter pests right at the source – the food itself. These bird food products are formulated with hot peppers, an ingredient squirrels hate but birds can’t taste.

3. Baffle unwanted visitors

Another proven solution that many birders use are squirrel baffles, either hanging, mounted on feeders or fastened on feeder polls. The way they work is by blocking predators from reaching the feeder. For example, in this image you can see the baffle stops squirrels from climbing up onto the feeder and making a meal of your seed.  Many different retail stores provide a number of baffle options, for example blocking from the top, bottom, hanging etc., depending on your specific feeder set up.

4. Give them something they want even more

Consider setting up a ground feeder away from your bird feeder, and fill with food specifically for your ground animals, such as Armstrong Rascal. This will keep the squirrels off the bird feeders and onto treats better suited for them – a win-win situation for an all-around healthy backyard environment.

When you’re able to keep the pests away, your birds are not only able to enjoy their Armstrong bird food more, but they will also keep coming back to the safe and protected environment you’ve created for them to house and feed.

Keep in mind many times pest-proofing your yard is about trial, learning the unique set up of your backyard and creating the best environment for your welcomed backyard visitors. And if you have any specific troubles or questions we’re always here to help!

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