How to Stop Squirrels from Eating Your Birdseed
1. Squirrel-Proof Feeders. There are several on the market that are weight-activated, allowing birds to feed but not squirrels. Some have better features, and might last longer, but are also a bit on the expensive side. The Roamwild Pest-Off bird feeder is very good - it is also large bird proof so will stop those pesky grackles from emptying your feeders too!
2. Use a squirrel-resistant feeder if you are budget minded. These tend to be less expensive, and are not quite as sturdy but will do the trick. These feeders will definitely slow down the seed consumption and might work if you only have an occasional squirrel, but are not truly squirrel-proof like the choices above.
3. Buy foods that squirrels do not like. Nyger seed, millet, safflower, canary seed and canola seed all are ingredients that squirrels avoid. Unfortunately a hungry squirrel will eat anything that will provide it nourishment.
4. Do mix hot pepper (capsicum) into bird seed. It is a non-toxic ingredient and will not harm or kill birds. It will not lower body temperature and will not freeze birds in cold climates. Pepper seeds are disseminated naturally by birds eating these seeds in the wild. The only caveat might be the use of powdered hot pepper. This powdered form is not natural to birds and if wind-blown could cause temporary discomfort to the eyes due to nerves about the mucous membrane. An alternative would be the use of crushed hot pepper flakes, hot pepper seeds, hot peppercorns (whole or cracked) or coarsely ground hot pepper.
5. Use baffles to prevent a squirrel or raccoon from climbing to a feeder. Baffles can be hung or placed on poles or posts and they work if used correctly. The magic formula is ten feet by five feet. That is, athletic squirrels can jump ten feet horizontally and five feet vertically.
6. Relocation is not as effective as some of the other methods, but you can eliminate problem squirrels by using live traps to harmlessly catch and relocate them to another area. Squirrel populations tend to build back up quickly though, so this can be an ongoing effort. Make sure to take the squirrels several miles away and give them a nice, new home with lots of trees! Please do not relocate nursing females.
7. Diversion feeding doesn't work very well, but if you can't beat them, enjoy them! Get a squirrel feeder and give them a little corn or some critter munchies. They can be very entertaining too!
- James Thorn