Many homeowners put a lot of time and money into their backyard landscaping efforts and they want to top off the atmosphere by making the yard a safe haven for birds.
The easiest and best way to do this is through the strategic placement of bird feeders. Perhaps they place one near the water feature another outside the kitchen window and perhaps another one hanging from a corner of the pergola.
They then sit back and wait for the yellow-billed cuckoos, ruby-throated hummingbirds and maybe even a rose-breasted grosbeak to swoop in and make their day. What they get instead are squirrels. Hungry, aggressive, relentless squirrels.
How to Save Your Bird Feeder (and Landscape) from Squirrels
Below we’ll provide ways you can rescue your bird sanctuary from the voracious jaws of the common Toronto ground squirrel.
Squirrel-Proofing Your Bird Feeders
Squirrel-proofing your bird feeders will not only restore them to their intended function, it will also rescue your landscape from being overwhelmed by these aggressive rodents. Here are some ways you can squirrel-proof your bird feeders.
Location, Location, Location
Squirrels, even the non-flying ones, are incredible leapers. So one way to counteract that is to locate your bird feeders 10 or more feet from potential launching pads, including branches, wires, fences and the house. This strategy will require the bird feeder to be isolated and as such, it won’t appeal to everyone. But it’s one of the surest ways to keep squirrels at bay.
A spinner can be just about any round thing that you can run a wire or cord through. Hang your bird feeder from the wire or cord with the cord running through the spinners. When the squirrel ventures out onto the cord to access the feeder he’ll step on the round object that will then start to spin, depositing said squirrel on the ground below.
Install chicken wire around your bird feeders to create a bit of a cage. Small birds will still be able to access the feeder but squirrels will not. This type of solution also solves the problem of larger birds like pigeons scaring away the birds you really want to see. Some bird feeders come equipped with a cage already in place. But creating one of your own is not hard to do.
Change the Feeder
Bird feeder designers have been working long and hard on the problem of squirrels and have come up with some ingenious designs that are sometimes all you need to repel the squirrel invasion. Some feeders have doors that are slammed shut when a squirrel steps on the perch.
Others, as we mentioned, embrace the cage design that allows small birds access but stops squirrels. And still, others are made from materials that squirrels can’t gnaw their way through.
Change the Seed
One of the easiest and most effective ways of de-squirreling your yard is to change the seed in your bird feeders. Mammals, including humans and squirrels, are sensitive to spicy foods. Birds, on the other hand, are not. You can either buy bird seed that is already pre-treated with pepper or chili powder or you can mix some in yourself. Just be sure not to breathe in the spicy dust while you’re doing so.
Keep It Clean
Few things are going to attract the attention of squirrels faster than seeds scattered about on the ground under a feeder. The squirrels arrive, begin to chow and, while eating, look around to see where the bonanza might have come from. Inevitably they spy the feeder up above and once that happens they pencil your yard in as their favorite eatery.
Keep in mind too that feed on the ground will also attract birds who may become sick by eating the rotting seeds. So no matter what always be sure to keep the area under the feeder as clean as possible.
Don’t let squirrels hijack your bird feeders and by extension your landscape. Take the above tips to heart and you’ll be well on your way toward rescuing your yard from the squirrels of Toronto and returning it to the birds. Ask landscaping Toronto Pro M.E. Contracting for more tips on how to keep squirrels away from your backyard feeders.