Keeping squirrels out of the bird feeder

Posted Aug. 04, 2011, at 6:53 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 04, 2011, at 7:24 p.m.

Dang those squirrels when they get into bird feeders.

Even when the feeder is filled with safflower seed, which squirrels are supposed to dislike, the four-footed clowns dive in, feet first, feasting until their bellies bulge.

Caged bird feeders are one solution, but make sure the cages are large enough to prevent squirrels from reaching through the wire to grab what they can.

Squirrels are also notorious for shaking the feeder empty.

When caged feeders — and verbal threats — don’t work against squirrels, try taste aversion.

“Simply put, if the seed you serve tastes bad to squirrels, they’ll seek sustenance elsewhere,” says Elaine Cole, owner of Cole’s Wild Bird Products.

Seed products that incorporate habanero pepper, like Cole’s Hot Meats and Blazing Hot Blend, send squirrels scurrying to the nearest watering hole.

And, make them reluctant to return.

Curiously, birds like the seed.

Another option is Flaming Squirrel Seed Sauce, a food-grade ingredient that’s super hot and spicy. In addition to adding the sauce to bags of bird seed that you buy, you can spray it on garden plants to keep squirrels and other wildlife from digging and eating things.

Lastly, if you can’t beat them, feed them — using dried corn-on-the-cob, loose dried corn or in-shell peanuts.

You’ll find Cole’s Wild Bird Products at coleswildbird.com or call toll free 877-426-8882. The products are sold at garden, hardware and wildlife stores nationwide and online through Birdwatcher Supply Company at birdwatchersupply.com or toll free 888-552-4737.

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