Squirrels & Bird Feeders
Much like the birds we try to attract, squirrels love to eat seeds and can only assume the food you’ve put out is for their benefit! The following suggestions will make it more difficult for the squirrel to dominate a feeder. Just keep in mind the jumping abilities of squirrels: Even if a squirrel can’t gain a foothold on the feeder, they can knock it to the ground.
Suspend these types of feeders from a horizontal wire that runs between two points. Make sure there’s nothing above the feeder that the squirrel can use as a launching pad. Place the feeder in the middle of the wire and thread each end of the wire through sections of PVC pipe that are five feet long and at least four inches in diameter. The pipe will rotate when the squirrel attempts to cross to the feeder, causing it to slide off.
Observe the offending squirrel at length to determine how it accesses the feeder. Then place squirrel “baffles,” metal or plastic saucer-shaped disks, above and/or just below the feeder. A successful baffle is one that the squirrel can’t cling to, climb over or around, or gnaw through. Mount the baffles loosely so they readily tip when a squirrel lands on them. The pole should also be made of a smooth material such as metal or plastic so the squirrel can’t get its footing.
Most commercial feeders, touted as "squirrel-proof," are at best, "squirrel resistant." The most successful is an all-metal feeder with adjustable springs that regulate a counter-weighted door. When birds light on the platform, the door remains open, but under the heavier weight of a squirrel, the door drops down to conceal the food supply. These tend to be pricier, but you won’t have to replace them of account of squirrel damage.