Bird feeders are extremely popular devices that gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts love to place in their gardens.
And why not?
They are cheap, easy to fill with food and attract all sorts of bird life into a garden.
Bird feeders can turn a dull, lifeless garden into a buzzing haven for birds.
Unfortunately, they don’t only attract pretty birds but also rodents, squirrels and pigeons – the scourge of many a gardener.
If you want to turn your garden into a lovenest for starlings, robins, sparrows and blue tits, you’ll need to make some changes to how you introduce bird food, and it all starts with the bird feeder.
The good news is this; we’ve reviewed several products you can buy online, and we’ve got some great DIY solutions for those of you that don’t want to part with too much cash.
What if You Like Squirrels?
If you think that squirrels are a garden bonus and you enjoy feeding them and seeing them in your garden, don’t forget that they can consume much more food than even the fattest bird.
You can quickly burn through hundreds of pounds of bird food by not securing it against rodents and squirrels.
Keeping at least some of your food in squirrel proof bird feeders will only encourage birds into your garden.
Three Things to Look Out For
When looking for the best squirrel proof bird feeder, we think should look out for these three things:
You may find this odd, but these squirrel proof bird feeders can be extremely entertaining.
This is especially true if you place them near a window where you can easily see them.
Squirrels are determined animals, and it’s quite entertaining watching them trying to gain access to the food.
The spinning squirrel proof bird feeder is a popular product in the United States.
You can see how entertaining it is here:
Squirrels are notoriously tough animals, and their teeth are incredibly sharp.
They have been known to chew through plastic, wood and even metal.
Any squirrel proof bird feeder you buy must be durable and tough enough to withstand razor sharp teeth.
Squirrels are also intelligent and determined animals. They will find the weak point in any cheap feeder.
Easy to Clean
Birds aren’t the cleanest animals in the world. Well, they are, but the mess they leave behind is both unsightly, unhygienic and can deter other birds from feeding in your garden.
We suggest you choose a bird feeder that is easy to dismantle and clean.
You should avoid feeders that use small plastic parts or plastic meshes.
The small plastic parts can contaminate the food, and the mesh can trap the bird’s feet or beaks.
Poor quality devices with spring mounted openings (they let small birds feed but lockout larger birds) can trap and kill some birds.
Choose your squirrel-proof bird feeder carefully:
The Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Below you’ll find what we think are the best squirrel proof bird feeders that are designed to keep large birds like pigeons and rodents such as rats and squirrels away.
We start with our all-time favourite – the “spinning” squirrel proof bird feeder.
1) The Spinner Bird Feeder – By Droll Yankees
The spinning bird feeder is one of the most famous squirrel proof bird feeders sold in the United States.
I’m still puzzled as to why it’s not sold in such huge numbers here in the UK. The high price is probably a factor.
There are even YouTube videos showing compilations of squirrels trying and failing to get to the food.
Here are the key points:
- The perch only activates the rotor when it detects a heavy enough weight – i.e. a squirrel, rat or pigeon.
- This is an extremely durable product, and the manufacturer has produced it to a very high standard.
- It holds a large capacity of bird food.
- The rotor battery is long-lasting and rechargeable.
- Not only is this product 100% effective at keeping squirrels away from the bird food, but we also give it a 10/10 rating for entertainment too.
- This is an expensive product, but if you’re serious about feeding birds in your garden, you’ll make a saving in the long term as you’ll be wasting less feed.
Check out the promotional video below and buy this product from Amazon.
2) The Jacobi Jayne Bird Feeder
The Jacobo Jayne squirrel proof bird feeder is made from sturdy materials and to an innovative design.
Small birds are allowed to feed, but larger birds such as pigeons and of course squirrels are shut out by a mechanism that closes access to the food.
Over 3.5million of these bird feeders have been sold worldwide, and they work exceptionally well.
Of course, if you place the feeder near a branch, wall, fence or any object where the squirrel can reach over and bypass the weight-activated mechanism, it will fail.
Check out how smart this squirrel was:
- Cheaper than the spinning feeder.
- Not as entertaining as other bird feeders.
- Very effective.
- 2-year guarantee.
- A range of feed types and sizes to choose from; peanuts, mini-feed, classic, finch and original.
3) The Gardman Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
The device has a long sleeve; the weight of the squirrel pulls the sleeve over the feed holes. This action prevents them from reaching the food.
The sprung weighted sleeve is robust and lightweight and will deter all but the most determined squirrels.
- One of the cheapest products.
- Effective against most but not all squirrels.
- Good entertainment value – watch the squirrels trying to beat this device.
- The device holds peanuts, seeds and sunflower seeds.
4) The DIY Option
We’ve got two DIY options for you.
The first is quite simple and easy to create, the second requires a few more parts, but a competent DIYer should be able to construct one in about 15 minutes.
1) The Dome/Shield
This product can be purchased online or create your own by simply cutting and bending a piece of aluminium.
You could also drill a small hole in the centre of an old, sizeable rounded bowl of similar shape:
2) The Metal/PVC Pipe
The second option is a piece of pipe, either aluminium, galvanised steel or thick PVC will suffice.
You need to secure the pipe below the feeder so squirrels cannot climb up the pole.
Assuming you haven’t placed the device near any overhanging branches, the squirrels won’t be able to get to the food.
The video below shows this simple device in action.
If you notice squirrels manage to climb up the pipe, just brush on some olive oil to make the surface more slippery.