The Avant-Garden Shop: Your Garden & Bird Store

Garden Gate: Episode 118 – Setting up a bird feeding station (June 23, 2017)

CHEX TV airdate: June 23rd, 2017 Click link to watch this episode online It’s really wonderful to watch the birds.  Their beautiful colours and sweet songs relax and help you to appreciate the nature all around you.  Often times elderly who live alone at home much of the time can spend hours watching and being entertained … Read more

Garden Gate: Episode 2 – Baffling squirrels

baffleCHEX TV air date: Fri. Dec. 28th, 2012

Click here to view this episode of?The Garden Gate.

This episode of The Garden Gate focused on different baffles that can be used to stop squirrels from getting to your bird feeders. If you already have bird feeders and don’t want to replace them with squirrel proof feeders, there are alternatives available.


Squirrel-Proofing Your Bird Feeder

Squirrel buster plus

Does this sound familiar? You’ve just filled your bird feeders and you’re successfully attracting a variety of songbirds to your backyard. But that’s not all you’re attracting: hordes of marauding squirrels are threatening to eat you, or at least the birds, out of house and home. With the price of birdseed these days, you can’t afford to feed those ravenous rodents, so what can you do to squirrel-proof your bird feeders?


The best way to discourage squirrels is to make it difficult for them to access your bird feeders. A very effective method is to protect the feeders with a baffle. Squirrels can climb smooth poles and run along narrow clotheslines, but they cannot get by a strategically placed baffle. A conical or tube-shaped baffle, which is positioned approximately four feet off the ground, can protect a feeder that is mounted on a pole. A feeder that hangs from a line or tree will benefit from a top-mount baffle. When using baffles, you should ensure that the feeder is positioned at least 12 feet away from walls, fences, and tree trunks to prevent the squirrels from jumping to the feeder.


Another effective strategy is to buy a bird feeder that has been designed to be squirrel-proof or, at least, squirrel-resistant. There are a couple of variations on this theme. One style has a feeder surrounded by a cage that allows small birds in, but keeps squirrels and large birds out. This style is great for small song birds such as chickadees, finches, siskins and red polls, but could prevent some desirable species, such as cardinals, from feeding.


A second style of squirrel-proof feeder is weight-sensitive. When something heavy, such as a squirrel or a large bird, lands on the feeder, its weight causes the feeding stations to close, thereby preventing the critter from feeding. There are a number of models on the market, some of which are more effective than others. One of the best is the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus, a bird feeder with features too numerous to mention (see photo). It comes with a lifetime factory warranty and is guaranteed squirrel-proof.


If you don’t want to upgrade your bird feeding equipment, you can try thwarting squirrels by using blends of birdseed that they find distasteful. One of the best is Squirrel FreeTM , packaged by Mill Creek, a firm located in Newmarket, Ontario. Through observation and experiment, the nature lovers at Mill Creek have been able to identify types of seed that squirrels will avoid, but which birds will still enjoy.


Finally, you can try keeping squirrels away from your bird feeders by distracting them. For example, you can install a box feeder filled with corn kernels or hang a corncob “trapper” for the squirrels to feed from. If your squirrels have their very own feeder, situated well away from any bird feeders, they may stick to their own turf and leave the birdseed alone.


There is no question that squirrels can be a nuisance around bird feeders and a costly one at that. However, keep in mind that squirrels are just being themselves. You shouldn’t let your desire to keep squirrels away from your bird feeders result in any harm to them. Don’t use poison or traps that will kill. Don’t use sticky material that can soil squirrel fur and bird feathers. Never add cayenne pepper to your birdseed (if a squirrel gets it in the eyes, the resulting misery and scratching may result in blindness).


Whatever you do, don’t give up on feeding the birds. Squirrels may be intelligent but, with careful thought, it’s not hard to foil them. After all, we’re smarter, right?

The Avant-Garden Shop is a retail store specializing in backyard birding supplies and gardening accessories. Visit them at 165 Sherbrooke St. in Peterborough, online at, or contact them by phone at 705-743-0068 (toll-free 877-886-0869).

The Avant-Garden Shop