Your Reading List

Feed Birds, Discourage Squirrels


Those of us who enjoy feeding birds are always open to new ideas on feeding stations if they are effective especially against squirrels. While squirrels are entertaining they can be a nuisance, as they are astonishingly acrobatic and will catapult themselves onto feeders in locations one might think impossible, and keep the birds away.

One feeder I ve tried is simply an empty 45-gallon metal drum. It has plenty of flat surface area (two feet across) with a half-inch side lip (to keep seeds from blowing) and is about three feet in height. It is tall enough to frustrate both squirrels and cats if the only access is from ground level. Even if a cat is able to leap up and get its front feet over the edge, it doesn t find the back foot traction needed to draw itself up and over.

A usage limitation is that the bottom of the drum is also solid, and if set on grass will smother anything alive underneath, limiting use to on a gravel base unless grass damage is not an issue.

A second new feeder is set on a two-inch metal post clad in aluminum dryer pipe, designed to frustrate squirrel foot traction. (A squirrel can actually climb a corroded steel pipe.)

I used drill stem pipe eight feet in length, solidly top filled with six inches of wood and pre-drilled to accept a three-inch lag screw. The front-end loader made short work of installation leaving five feet above ground. I then slipped used dryer pipe over the top and down. The feeder was pre-drilled on centre and installation was simply a matter of lining up the screw and tightening.

I ve found small birds don t like recessed feeders that impede their view of potential enemies. Accordingly, I built the feeder with a recessed centre tray for larger birds and wing additions on each side for chickadees, woodpeckers and finches. I also added small risers on each of the upper shelves to keep seeds from drifting in the wind.


Smaller birds like to feed from the side wings rather than the recessed centre, so they can watch for approaching enemies.PHOTO: STAN HARDER

About the author

Stan Harder's recent articles



Stories from our other publications