This is nuts!
You may recall that 2019 was a great year for flowers. It was also a great one for nut-producing trees, like beech, oak, and walnut. The nuts produced by these trees are generically called “mast,” and last year was a bumper mast crop. This means the critters that feed on and store mast had plenty of food going into the winter. More of them survived the winter, and they entered the spring in good condition, so they were able to reproduce quickly.
Eastern Chipmunks eat pretty much everything, so changing foods to deter them doesn’t work. And because they’re so small, they can’t be excluded from feeders with cages or weight-adjustable features, either.
So what can you do?
The only solution for chipmunks is to put a baffle above the feeder or on the pole or shepherds hook (which are, unfortunately, sold out). We do have some baffles that fit over top of the feeder which also keep squirrels and chipmunks out if they’re set up properly.
And what shouldn’t you do?
We don’t recommend greasing poles. Although it can work to deter chipmunks and squirrels, and it can be entertaining to watch them try to climb a greased pole, this can be harmful to birds if they fly into it.
We also don’t recommend adding cayenne to bird food, as it can cause harm to squirrels if they get it in their eyes, and, whether you enjoy them or not, Gray Squirrels are protected by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act in Ontario.
If you’d like to learn more about the chipmunk explosion, check out this recent article from Vermont Public Radio.