How to Reduce Unwanted Animals at Bird Feeders

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Bird feeders are wonderful devices placed outside to attract different types of birds providing wonderful bird watching opportunities. However, bird feeders attract unwanted animals like squirrels and wildlife that are unwanted. Bird feeders provide an increased food supply, encouraging the rapid growth of animal populations. With higher populations, animals will eventually seek to enter your home for shelter.

Bird Feeders directly benefit the following animal species, some of which can cause extensive property damage:

  • Rodents, such as flying squirrels, gray squirrels, western gray, and red squirrels, mice, chipmunks, voles, and rats.
  • Carnivores, coyotes, opossums, skunks, bears, raccoons
  • Birds such as, geese, ducks

Bird Feeders nourish wildlife in one of two ways:

  • Foraging - Food falls to the ground below the feeder allowing a wide variety of animals to eat.
  • Direct access - This method is the familiar method with squirrels who are purported to always find a way to the feeder.

How to Reduce Unwanted Animals at Bird Feeder

  • Don’t buy mixed bird seed. For example, blue jays prefer sunflower seeds and they will dump seed on the ground until they find the sunflowers. Put a single feed in the bird feeder this way, birds will fly to the feed they prefer
  • Thistle Seed. Squirrels (generally speaking) don't eat thistle seed, but mice do. Be sure that you don't allow thistle seed to reach the ground either.
  • Safflower Seed. Safflower seeds are not enjoyed by squirrels, but mice do enjoy. Safflower seed is taken regularly by chickadee, titmouse, house finch, and cardinal.
  • Recapture the Seed. Modify your feeders so that spilled food gets caught by a basin or tray before reaching the ground. Frequently empty these trays so they don’t overflow. Make sure that the basins can allow water to pass through; otherwise they will get too heavy and possibly break the feeder.

How to Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders?

  • Pole Feeder Modifications. Attach feeders on posts at least 6 feet off the ground and at least 10 away from any nearby branches/structures. Squirrels can access a feeder hanging from a tree branch. Always start flashing from the bottom of the pole and be sure that each layer of aluminum overlaps the lower one. Remember that squirrels don’t need to reach the feeder to eat. They only have to get the food onto the ground. If they can shake a feeder so that it spills its cargo, the squirrels are still satisfied.
  • Baffle Cones. Attach baffle cones around the pole with the widest part facing out and down to prevent squirrels from climbing the pole. These cones should be attached at least 4 feet off the ground and extend out at least 2 feet. Baffles should also prevent other animals like raccoons from accessing the feeder.
  • Choose Specialty Feeders. There are a variety of feeders designed to reduce squirrel access to feeders.

Thomas Pest Services offers full service wildlife solutions using the most humane animal removal and environmental responsible techniques available. Animals that call home, in your home are not only a nuisance but can cause damage to your home’s structure and even carry disease. Usually when animals invade your space, they are looking for food, water and shelter. If animals are invading your bird feeders, property or home, contact Thomas Pest Services, your Clifton Park wildlife removal experts. Wildlife can bite, carry and spread disease, so it best to contact a professional wildlife removal specialist - get started with a free inspection to get rid of wildlife.


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