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Feeding native birds in your backyard is one of life’s true joys, especially in a modern world where technology has largely separated us from nature.
It’s no wonder that squirrels raiding your bird food and scaring away birds are incredibly annoying. These crafty little animals are known to use their surprising intelligence to by-pass anti-squirrel measures.
However, technology can also bring you closer to nature with these perfectly designed squirrel-proof feeders. If squirrels getting into your wild bird seed is driving you absolutely nutty, try one of these ten products, as each is backed with reviews from happy backyard birders.
|Best Overall||Droll Yankees Sunflower Domed Cage Wild Bird Feeder||
|Best Value||PetFusion Tranquility Window Bird Feeder||
|Premium Choice||Droll Yankees Classic Sunflower or Mixed Seed Bird Feeder||
|Perky-Pet Panorama Bird Feeder||
|More Birds Squirrel-Proof Double Suet Bird Feeder||
|Material(s):||Coated metal, plastic|
Our choice for the best overall squirrel-proof feeder was this ingenious design from Droll Yankee. The domed cage has a free-flowing seed feeder tube in the middle, with 1.5-inch openings. If you want to attract larger birds, these gaps are too small but great if you want to keep big birds out.
This feeder is built to withstand the battering outdoors. The powder-coated metal protects the structure and is safe if squirrels chew on it out of frustration! The inner tube is UV resistant, protecting the seeds from UV damage to their nutrient makeup.
This basic feeder does not look like it will keep squirrels out on first inspection. Its open design offers no protection from invasions. However, the trick with window-mounted feeders is the positioning. If placed in the middle of a large window, squirrels cannot climb the glass and get inside.
For that reason, we chose this nifty product from PetFusion as the best squirrel-proof bird feeder for the money. Clever use of a simple product can save you money purchasing expensive squirrel-proof feeders. This will only work if you have suitable large windows!
Our premium choice is this sleek feeder from Droll Yankees. Its steel construction holds up against squirrel chewing and offers an aesthetically pleasing design. The steel and UV-resistant plastic tubing doesn’t show signs of aging with use, so while it is expensive, it stands up to the test.
Its large capacity and multiple portholes allow for a bird feast in your garden without the disruption of unwelcome guests. The porthole design does not offer a catchment for dropped seeds so squirrels can forage on the ground below.
Hundreds of happy customers highly rate this feeder from Perky-Pet. It’s excellent value considering the cost and the efficiency of the product. The sleek baffle and locking system keeps squirrels from helping themselves to the seed storage.
Since the feeder is open, not covered in wire, birds of all sizes can access the seed. However, the seed tray itself is shallow, and reviewers say the hulls of larger seeds can block the free-flowing system quickly. It’s best for smaller seeds and millet or regular cleaning.
|Capacity:||2 suet cakes|
Opportunistic squirrels don’t just love loose seeds; they also like to raid nutritious suet cakes. This feeder from More Birds can hold two suet cakes and is surrounded by a double wire cage, allowing smaller birds to be sheltered from predators as they eat.
One reviewer described this feeder as “Fort Knox for bird food,” which is a glowing review, especially considering this product is on the cheaper end of the scale. However, don’t expect your suet to be safe from bears, as the steel is putty in their paws. But this isn’t a list of bear-proof bird feeders, right?
|Material(s):||Plastic, coated metal|
The design of this feeder from Droll Yankees is deceiving. Its basic design looks like it won’t have a chance at keeping a determined squirrel away. But when a squirrel hops aboard the tray, its weight activates a tipping mechanism causing them to drop away. Not only is this effective, but it’s enormously entertaining.
Medium-sized birds such as jays and woodpeckers won’t set this delicate system off. The feeding holes are small-sized, and large sunflower seeds tend to block up the flow. Additionally, the price tag is on the higher end of the scale. However, customers in the review section have only had to replace their feeder after a whopping 20 years.
For something so simple (and cheap), this mesh ball feeder from Perky-Pet does the trick. It doesn’t have any fancy bells or whistles keeping squirrels out, just basic physicals. The ball design is complicated for squirrels to hang onto for prolonged periods, and the mesh sizing is too small for them to get any significant seed.
While they may not save every seed from a squirrel, they won’t be raided completely. The ergonomic ball design is perfect for warblers and other fluttering foragers to perch on to naturally eat.
This product from Squirrel-X is just as high-tech as the name implies. The design features an adjustable tension rod in the center that lets you adjust the size of the feeding area so you can choose what size of bird to let in. Additionally, the perch lengths are adjustable.
These features are neat, but the more moving parts an item has, the more things there are to break. The feeding ports don’t allow squirrels to feed on them, but the sleek design still lets them clamber all over it, causing the potential for damage and scaring away birds.
|Material(s):||Wood, coated metal|
While this product states it is not squirrel-proof, many reviewers beg to differ, saying their squirrels are unable to balance and access the seeds. However, for full security, a squirrel baffle should be purchased alongside this feeder.
We like this feeder’s minimalistic and natural design and its large capacity. However, the feeder does not have built-in perching for ease of access, and it does not come apart, making cleaning difficult.
This feeder from Perky-Pet utilizes sneaky weight physics to close off the feeder under a squirrel’s weight. The outer metal casing moves independently from the plastic feeder inside. When triggered by weight, the casing moves down, blocking off the seed source.
This generally works well, but some reviewers say their tricky squirrels have worked out how to access the seed by holding on to fixed areas of the feeder. A baffle above will likely help to resolve this issue.
If there is one thing we learned from our research into bird feeders, it is that no one bird feeder can have a perfect defense from squirrels. These little creatures are surprisingly crafty, using their wit and agility to outsmart anti-squirrel technology.
In addition to purchasing a solid squirrel-proof feeder, utilize other deterring measures to keep feeders safe. It only takes one clever squirrel and his buddy to pass your defense and wipe out weeks’ worth of birdseed.
Squirrels can perform incredible acrobats to get into feeders. They can leap 5 feet from the ground, 7 feet across from a vantage point, or drop 9 feet down.
These impressive metrics mean they can access the bird feeder from some compromising positions. But if you know the limitations of what they can physically achieve, you can position your feeder accordingly.
The word baffle is an awesome one. We mostly know it to mean confuse or puzzle. But in this instance, it’s a noun. A baffle is an item that inhibits the movement of energy (force, light, sound) from one area to another.
In this case, the force is the physicality of a squirrel, and the baffle is a physical barrier.
Baffles can be placed around poles to prevent climbing or above feeders to prevent overhanging. Top baffles are great in that they also protect the feeder from rain, which washes out seed and clogs up portholes.
Squirrels might hang out under your feeder and not on it, cleaning up any dropped seeds and wasted hulls. While this is a bonus for you not having to clean it up, it will also entice more squirrels to the area.
Once the old food dries up, they will soon look up to see the feeder and be prompted to attempt to get inside.
Using catchment trays and regular cleaning to keep the area under and around your bird feeder limits available food for passing squirrels, encouraging them to move on from the area.
No one really wants to engage in a game of wits with squirrels, mostly because they are afraid that they might lose—and often we do! But crafty squirrels can get into even the most thought-out anti-squirrel feeders, so use an array of “booby-traps” to catch them off guard.
Slinky ropes hanging down from the feeder can spin on contact, sending squirrels flying. This same tactic can be used above by securing the feeder with a spinning hook. Unsuspecting squirrels will get a shock when they try to hop aboard.
If your feeder is secured with rope or wire between two points, the spinning motion can be achieved by reusing old soda bottles. Line your rope with these plastic bottles so when squirrels confidently try to waltz across, they are quickly spun back down to the ground.
Related Read: 10 Best Bluebird Feeders: Reviews & Top Picks
Our top pick for squirrel-proof bird feeders was Droll Yankees Sunflower Domed Cage. This impenetrable design may not be beautiful, but it works to prevent squirrels from munching on birdseed in the feeder effectively.
For best value, we really like the PetFusion Tranquility Window Bird Feeder. Not only can correct placement keep pesky squirrels at bay, but it can offer you a unique insight into your bird watching.
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After an early start in the veterinary industry and as a conservation educator at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, Sophie has since been a successful Zookeeper and Conservationist, specializing in native New Zealand species. When she isn't bird watching in native forests, she can be found with her husband on their sheep and beef station, far from civilization. Sophie enjoys her writing career as it provides opportunities to help and support pet owners of all kinds and getting to research and write about a broad range of topics. The only downside is the long list of strange searches in her internet history!
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