Squirrel feeders located away from a bird feeding station will attract squirrels so they ignore the bird feeders. Squirrels prefer corn and nuts to bird seed and squirrel feeders are designed to offer these treats.
Why try to protect our bird feeders from squirrels? Because a squirrel can eat its weight in seed in just one week! They can jump 6 feet up and at least 8-10 feet straight across and can run as fast as 20 mph. A squirrel’s front teeth are designed for gnawing and eating and actually grow 6 inches per year and are worn down by activity. This is why the best squirrel proof bird feeders have sturdy construction and are usually made of metal. Certainly, squirrel proof bird feeders are a deterrent, but another approach that works is a squirrel feeder. Using both is even better!
Squirrels will certainly eat bird seed, but they actually prefer corn and nuts. There are many squirrel feeders on the market that are designed specifically to hold one or more ears of dry corn. Others hold peanuts in the shell or other nuts. These squirrel feeders should be placed as far away as possible from the bird feeding station and mounted either on the side of a tree trunk or on a pole. It won’t take long for the squirrels to find this new source of satisfying food. As they become involved with the corn and nuts, they are less likely to raid the bird feeders. The added benefit is getting to watch the entertaining antics of squirrels. After all, they are also a part of nature’s plan for the neighborhood, so furnishing them with their own squirrel feeders just adds another area of interest to any yard.
In the United States, backyards are frequently visited by gray, brown, fox and red squirrels. Adults normally live alone. In the summer, squirrels will most likely visit the squirrel feeders 2-3 hours after sunrise and again 2 hours before sunset. If attracting squirrels to a yard is the goal, be sure to have squirrel feeders up by early spring. This is when squirrels are the most active for it is mating season. The males will chase the females and also chase other possible suitors away. Offering full squirrel feeders will draw much of this activity right to the yard.
Another squirrel deterrent sometimes recommended is using capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers “hot”. Introducing a foreign substance to the food supply of birds and other wildlife is just not a good idea. There are many types of squirrel proof bird feeders and many styles of squirrel feeders, all of which can help keep squirrels from emptying the bird feeders. Besides, many people enjoy the battle of wits with these smart beasties!