I put out my new Eliminator squirrel-proof birdfeeder the other day. It was replacing an older version of the same feeder, so I already had an ideal place for it: on the west side of the house on my "woodland" feeding station.
As you can see, by woodland, I mean it is literally on the edge of the woods, within 4-5 feet of large hemlock trees and directly under their branches.
This means squirrels have easy access to the feeders in my woodland setup. But, remember folks, WE'RE SMARTER THAN SQUIRRELS!!! We may be less persistent, but we are humans and we ARE smarter. That means we know enough about squirrels to defeat them.
As humans, we know:
- The limits of squirrels' physical capabilities (and contrary to urban legend, there ARE limits!). They can jump horizontally 8-10 feet and vertically 4-5 feet.
- Their physical makeup such as length, weight, size, etc. Gray Squirrels weigh between 12-34 ounces. For comparison, a cardinal weighs between 1.25-2 oz. and a chickadee only 0.3 oz.!
- Their food preferences. They don't eat niger seed. They're not crazy about safflower seed. They are sensitive to capsaicin in suet.
So the answer to squirrel issues at your feeders is to utilize this knowledge in setting up your feeding stations:
- Put feeders out of their reach.
- Offer food they don't care for. Sometimes it is a matter of "food they don't care AS MUCH for", like safflower seed, which they MIGHT nibble on but won't gorge themselves on typically.
- Put out feeders that are designed, through knowledge of squirrel's physical makeup and physical capabilities, to exclude them if they access the feeder.
In the case of the Eliminator, this feeder defeats them by closing off the food ports when a squirrel's weight is put on the perch. The amount of weight it takes to close off the feeder is highly adjustable, so you can close it off from gray, fox, and red squirrels, chipmunks, or even larger birds if you so desire.
The length of the feeder is such that squirrels are unable to hang upside down to bypass the perches to access the feeding ports. Don't get me wrong - they will try. But they will also give up when unsuccessful. And every summer, each new litter of squirrels will try. We have to expect this.
A little knowledge put to work has given us a feeder that really works against the squirrels. Sorry, it means an end to your "can you top this" squirrel stories, but wouldn't you rather feed the birds anyway?