Feeding birds is a relaxing activity that helps take your mind off the tensions of everyday life and increases your focus. Despite how fun and stress-free bird feeding can be, there's one thing that can always rain on your parade: squirrels.
While many people don't mind squirrels taking their bird seed, it's not surprising that many people dislike the destructive and annoying critters. Fortunately, there are a ton of ideas and designs that keep squirrels away from feeders, and we've assembled a list of the various types of squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Cage Squirrel-Proof Feeders
Although it may not be the best-looking squirrel stopper, a cage bird feeder is surprisingly effective at keeping out squirrels. The concept is very simple and doesn't have any moving parts. At the center, there's usually a traditional bird feeder and around it is a steel cage that's just big enough to let birds in and keep squirrels out. Many squirrel-proof feeders come with these mesh cages, but you can also buy one separately and place your current feeder inside.
Another way to prevent squirrels from taking all your bird seed is a baffle. Baffles are usually conical or dome shapes that fit two places. They can either go underneath the feeder on a pole so squirrels are unable to climb up, or they can be placed above the feeder so squirrels can't climb done the wire. You can buy a baffle separately but many squirrel-proof bird feeders already have these built in.
Some squirrel-proof bird feeders utilize springs to control what can access the seed. These come in a variety of types. Some feeders, like the popular Heritage Farms Absolute II feeder, have perches that detect the weight of the creature trying to get in. If it's a bird, the perch doesn't move. But if a squirrel stands on it, the perch acts as a lever that closes the door to the bird seed.
Other feeders use spring-activated baffles. The Squirrel Stopper uses a baffle that collapses to the ground and dumps off any squirrels that try to climb over it to get to the feeder.
Collapsible Perch Feeders
The perches are an access point for birds, but they also act as convenient ledges for hungry squirrels to hang onto while they pillage feeders. Some squirrel-proof feeders have collapsible perches that can only hold the weight of a small bird and nothing more. If anything stands on it that's heavier than a bird, it'll simply bend and drop the critter.
Squirrel Zapper Feeders
Another type of feeder that's been making its way onto the market is squirrel zappers. When a squirrel is trying to get the seed from the feeder, you can press a button and give them a harmless shock that scares them away. Many people object to the treatment of the squirrels, but it gives them nothing more than a zap akin to a static shock.
Electronic Spinning Feeders
A few companies, like Droll Yankees, have made their name by sticking small motors into the feeder to spin squirrels off. These work similar to tension feeders. When a squirrel's weight is detected, the motor swings into action and starts twirling the base until the squirrel is launched off the feeder. A variation of this is the Twirl-A-Squirrel, which spins the whole feeder from the top when it a squirrel climbs aboard.
Aside from the previous designs, there are also several specialty designs dreamed up by individual companies. One example is the rolling feeder from the RollerFeeder. These feeders sway from side to side when a squirrel comes down from above. It then rolls and dumps the squirrel to the ground before it can steal any seed.