As a bird enthusiast, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and money trying to set up a bird feeder. Unfortunately, you’ve noticed that the birds aren’t actually getting much of the food thanks to chipmunks and squirrels hogging the feeders. What should you do?
It’s important to realize that squirrels and chipmunks are very acrobatic. Not only can they climb quickly and effectively, but they’re also great jumpers and some can jump ten feet horizontally. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep your bird feeder away from trees or any other objects the squirrels can climb on to or jump from, thus making it harder for them to steal your birds’ food. This can be achieved by constructing a pole for your bird feeder or, if it’s already on a pole, moving it farther away.
Use baffles. This conical structure can hang above or below the bird feeder depending on the usage. If your bird feeder is hanging on a tree branch, it goes on top of the bird feeder and forms a dome around it. This makes it harder for squirrels or chipmunks to get to the bird feeder as they’ll slip and fall off the baffle. If the bird feeder is on a pole, the baffle goes under the bird feeder. This makes it so that the pesky rodents can’t climb straight up to get the food, which seriously impedes their ability to ward off any birds. Click here to learn more about how to get rid of chipmunks.
If squirrels are the main source of your troubles, it might be a good idea to invest in some squirrel-proof bird feeders. These are specially designed and have different contraptions to allow birds to easily access the food while stopping squirrels from gaining access. Some use weights and shut off access to the food when the heavier squirrels climb onto the feeder. Others make use of cages that allow birds to get inside and eat while preventing squirrels – who tend to be much bigger than birds – from getting inside. Keep in mind, however, that chipmunks are both smaller and lighter than squirrels, so these cages don’t work as well for them. Visit squirrel-attic.com if you need professional help with your squirrel problem.
You can also try changing up the seeds used. Some birdseed mixtures are specifically made using seeds that squirrels don’t eat. These typically include safflower seeds, nyjer thistle, or white proso millet seed. Unfortunately, chipmunks do eat safflower seeds, so this might not be the most effective solution against them. In which case it might be worthwhile to buy some spicy birdseed mixtures. Birds aren’t affected by the compound capsaicin that gives spicy food its burn. As a result, your birds will be unaffected, but the spice does irritate any squirrels and chipmunks who want a bite.
It might be a good idea to set up a second feeder exclusively for squirrels and chipmunks. This way, they won’t bother the birds and won’t come to harm either. You can even make some new furry friends.
Though squirrels and chipmunks can be annoying, keeping them away from your bird feeders isn’t that hard. Start by keeping the bird feeder away from trees, invest in some baffles and squirrel-proof feeders, change up the seed mixture, or make a new feeder just for squirrels. That’s all it takes.