Mother Earth Living Blogs > Wiser Living

Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders with Weight-activated Feeders

Photo by Fotolia

Those bushy-tailed squirrels may look cute when they’re scurrying up trees and stashing food away for the winter… but what happens when it's birds’ food that they’re piling up? Well, squirrels will hoard those tasty seeds and nuts or gobble them up before the birds get a chance to dine on them, meaning that your feathered friends will be frightened away from your bird feeders as they no longer consider your garden a safe source of food.

This means that you’ll need to find a way to stop squirrels eating your bird seed… there are many recommendations on how to do this if you look online, such as sprinkling seeds and nuts with chilli powder (birds don’t mind the heat whereas squirrels can’t stand it!), but the most effective way to stop squirrels stealing from your feeders is to change the bird feeder you’re using.

Traditional bird feeders are beautiful, functional and fit for purpose, but they’re not designed to prevent squirrels from stealing from them! That’s why you should invest in a squirrel proof bird feeder.

There are a few types of squirrel proof bird feeders, but one of the most effective models on the market is a weight activated feeder.

How do weight activated bird feeders work?

Weight activated squirrel proof feeders are a particularly clever method of preventing squirrels from eating your bird food. Like any other bird feeder, the feeder has seed tubes for you to add bird seed to, as well as ports for birds to feed from. However, what sets this design apart is the fact that the ports are designed to close under a squirrel’s weight, preventing them from raiding the supply of seeds. The spring-loaded metal casing slips down over the feeding ports, blocking access and protecting the seeds.   

The only thing to bear in mind is that the feeder will also close under the weight of a big bird. However, this isn’t normally an issue for most people, as birds that weigh as much as squirrels don’t typically want to eat from the same feeders (or indeed even eat the same seeds) as many smaller birds. You can also get around this problem by investing in a model that allows you to determine the weight at which the feeder will close, so you can choose to allow weightier birds to visit the feeder once the squirrels have stopped dining from it.

Will squirrels eventually give up, then?

Yes – without access to the seeds inside the feeder, squirrels will become frustrated and will eventually move on to look for food in other places. This means that the birds visiting your garden may flock in higher numbers once they know there’s no competition for the delicious seeds within the feeders. 

Are weight activated feeders as attractive as a generic feeder? 

Absolutely! Just because you need a bird feeder to fulfil a particular function doesn’t mean that it can’t be very attractive, too. For instance, a weight activated feeder such as this one is decorative with a rustic metal finish and leaf pattern, which just goes to show that you can have a squirrel-proof feeder that also doubles as a beautiful garden accessory.

If you have a problem with squirrels pillaging your bird feeders, try a weight activated feeder… you’ll be rid of the squirrels in no time!