The Avant-Garden Shop: Your Garden & Bird Store

GARDEN GATE: Episode 283 – The best winter bird seed! (Jan 5, 2024)

The weather is getting colder and the birds are busy working hard to keep warm. Changing your seed to a hulled variety really helps them get their food quickly. It saves them energy not having to remove the shells, and also keeps things tidy at your feeders. We sell the hulled sunflower seeds, hulled peanut … Read more

GARDEN GATE: Episode 227 (Oct 22, 2021)

It’s that time of year again. Time to clean and set up your bird feeders! If you don’t feed all year then now is the time to get your feeders out again. It’s very important that the feeders are clean and that you use good quality fresh seed. And to get the most enjoyment from … Read more

Garden Gate: Episode 162 – Grackles and Starlings Next to Squirrels, Grackles and Starlings are the most bothersome to backyard bird feeders.  They eat so much, come in large flocks and scare away the prettier birds like cardinals. During this episode of The Garden Gate I focus on types of seed and feeders that help to eliminate them from your garden and … Read more

Garden Tips: Squirrels at Your Bird Feeder

Keeping squirrels away from feeders can be a constant effort. They eat a lot of seed, which makes maintaining your feeder more costly. They also dominate the feeder, scaring the birds we want to attract away. There’s another good reason to reduce squirrel and chipmunk access to your bird seed: they eat bird eggs and … Read more

Garden Gate: Episode 52-Discouraging large birds

CHEX TV airdate: Friday Dec. 12th, 2014 Click link to watch it here! Finch feederFeeding and watching the birds is a wonderful past time. ?You can spend hours watching the chickadees coming in to grab a seed one after another. ?Polite little birds! Then there are the goldfinches. They have such a pretty song, I could listen to them all day. They will come in large flocks and sit all day taking turns eating your Nyger seed. Bright red Cardinals appear and we almost jump for joy! ?When they are courting or have little ones to feed you might enjoy dad helping to pass on a seed or two. ?FUN! Aww, bsb+ut then the fun ends. Sir Squirrel or Gastly Grackle moves in….birds fly away and these two devour everything in site! On this episode of The Garden Gate, I’ll give you some tips on types of feeders that discourage squirrels and grackles as well as bird food that they don’t like. Feel free to drop in to see these feeders or to get more information. We’re here to help and to make your back yard bird feeding more enjoyable! Note: we do not recommend bird food with cayenne. ?If a squirrel gets the cayenne pepper in their eyes they can do serious damage to their eyes. ?Also, it has been shown that it affects birds stomachs. They can’t necessarily taste it, but their little tummies don’t like it. ?

Come in to Win a Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder

comeintowinBrome, the manufacturers of the BEST squirrel proof feeder, is having a contest. Come into the store for a secret code. Enter online often for your chance to win one of 150 Squirrel Buster bird feeders.

We carry 5 different styles of Squirrel Busters. The Plus, peanut, finch, classic and mini. Visit our website to see all 5!

Garden Gate: Episode 1 – Squirrel Buster Bird Feeders

Squirrel buster plusCHEX TV air date: Fri. Dec. 14th, 2012

Click here to watch the FIRST episode of The Garden Gate.

Late in 2012 I began a short TV spot on The 5 o’clock show on CHEX TV.? The first episode was on Squirrel Proof Bird feeders. YES, they do exist!

I’ve had a great response so far and will continue with more episodes!? They will be on CHEX bi-weekly on Fridays and also available on my YouTube channel.




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