How To Squirrel Proof Your Bird Feeders

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve had some unwanted birds or animals getting at your garden bird feeders and you’re wondering what you can do to keep them at bay.  It’s a question we get a lot, so we’ve written this guide to help you understand the differences and choose the best bird feeder for you and your garden.

For some garden bird feeders, larger birds and squirrels can take large amounts of food.  As you can imagine, there are hundreds of feeders, many of which claim to be squirrel proof or pest proof, but often they’re not.  In this guide, we’ll talk you through the different feeders and provide some hints and tips to keep pests at bay.

How to keep squirrels off your feeders

Squirrels are surprisingly clever when it comes to finding ways to get at free food.  Just a quick search on YouTube brings up hundreds of videos of the antics of squirrels attempting to get at bird feeders.  Here’s a couple of our favourites:


So how can you keep them at bay?  The easiest thing to do is to buy a good quality squirrel proof feeder.  These come in two main types;

  1. Spring loaded squirrel proof bird feeder
  2. Caged squirrel proof bird feeder

Spring loaded feeders have a small spring inside them, which causes the holes at the bottom of the feeder to snap shut when a squirrel or large bird lands on them.  Smaller birds aren’t heavy enough to trigger this mechanism, so they can feed as normal.  They’re effective, but as they have moving parts, they won’t always have the same lifespan as a caged feeder.  A good quality feeder will help you get many years out of your feeder.

Squirrel Proof Feeder (Open)Open Feeder

Squirrel Proof Feeder (Closed)Closed Feeder

Caged feeders are a simpler design, but can take up a bit more space.  The cage keeps squirrels away from the bird seed by simply putting the seed out of reach.

We stock a range of these feeders for all budgets, the most popular being the Squirrel Buster by Brome.

How to keep large birds off your feeders

Most feeders are designed to keep larger birds off your feeders by having a smaller perch. This makes it difficult for larger birds to feed.  Some of them are very canny though, so you could look to buy either a spring-loaded feeder, or a caged feeder, which along with keeping squirrels at bay, have the added benefit of keeping larger birds away.  Lastly, avoid putting your feeders close to handy perches such as branches that larger birds can use.

What else can I do to keep unwanted birds and animals away?

Another way you can help keep squirrels at bay is by feeding a no mess mix.  When you feed normal seeds, you might notice birds leave a mess under your feeders.  Unfortunately, other animals might also notice this and investigate, leading to some admitedly fascinating squirrel antics, but ultimately stolen bird seed!

If you’re getting a lot of wood pigeons at your feeders, you should consider switching to a good quality seed mix that has low or no wheat content, as wheat is particularly attractive to Wood pigeons and other pigeon/dove species.

Our No Mess, No Grow Mix is a mix of seeds with the husks removed.  It’s the husks that the birds would normally drop when they’re eating at your feeders, so this feed aims to reduce the mess and leave your garden tidy!

View our entire range

You can view our entire range of squirrel proof feeders on our website.

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