Baffle the Squirrels

We gave up on the bird feeder in the backyard because the squirrels were eating all the birdseed. We tried a feed marketed as being less appealing to squirrels, but the squirrels seemed completely willing to eat less-desirable food in a pinch. When birdseed became a significant household budget item, we gave up on feeding the birds and the squirrels.

I have seen various baffles or types of feeders that are meant to deter squirrels. There are feeders that tip easily under the weight of the squirrel but not the lighter weight of the birds. Some people suspend a 33 record below a hanging feeder to keep squirrels from leaping up to the feeder. Our feeder was already mounted on a tall post, so I decided to create my own version of a baffle.

My first effort  involved cutting a plastic bowl to try to create a barrier. I cut up the side of the bowl and cut an X in the bottom of the bowl so it would fit around the 4×4 pole. In theory, it was fabulous. In practice, the squirrels were able to use the lip of the bowl as a step up to the feeder. It confused the squirrels for a few minutes, but it didn’t keep them away from the birdseed.

Plan B was made of sturdier stuff. A visit to the hardware store for a piece of venting, a vent collar, and some sheet metal screws got us started. To construct the device, we first closed the collar and secured it to the bottom of the birdfeeder with the sheet metal screws. Then we closed the piece of venting and pressed in on the ridged portion at the top so the venting would slip into the collar. We thought we would have to secure the venting to the collar, but we tugged on it and it seemed really secure—certainly a few squirrels couldn’t dislodge it.

Ahem. So then we added a few sheet metal screws to secure the collar to the venting. Success! It was very entertaining to watch the squirrels try to conquer the pipe so they could get to the seed. A few of them launched themselves at the pipe, only to be embarrassed as they slid to the ground. We did have to move the lawn chairs further away from the feeder after a few particularly agile squirrels showed us that they were part of the Flying Wallendas.

We are back in the bird feeding business.

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