"There are limits to a squirrel's jumping ability"
Contrary to popular belief, you can keep squirrels from ravaging your bird feeding station. While they are incredibly agile, there are limits to their abilities and food preferences. Here are some of the most important rules to remember:
There are several feeders on the market that are effective at keeping out squirrels. The Absolute Feeders have a door to cover the food when the squirrel puts its weight on the perch and the Yankee Flipper has a motor that turns the perch throwing the squirrel off the feeder.
Squirrels jumping limits are approximately:
- 4 ft. up from the ground.
- 8-10 ft. any direction if they have a running start.
- Squirrels cannot chew through metal, PVC pipe, etc.
With those factors in mind, here are a few ideas for baffling squirrels:
If you feed from a deck, either use Safflower or a Squirrel-proof feeder. Squirrels, as a rule, really do not like Safflower (a small white seed similar to sunflower that cardinals and house finches love).
Feeding from a pole or post "out" in your yard gives you many options. Make sure that the pole is the appropriate distance from any jumping structure (low hanging limbs, deck railings, your roof, etc.). Invest in a good baffle for your pole and make sure it is at least 4 ft. above the ground.
If your feeders are hanging from a tree limb, again, remember the jumping limits. A feeder hung from a branch hook with a baffle will keep squirrels out as long as it is at least 5 feet from the trunk and 4 feet off of the ground.
A feeder hung from the under your eaves (especially in front of a large picture window can often be very squirrel proof.
Squirrels are great animals and they can be really fun to watch but that doesn't mean that we have to feed them our "good stuff". Baffling our furry friends can difficult but we are up to the challenge.
By Mark McKellar
Photo Courtesy of Erva