Are you feeding birds in your garden? It’s a great thing to do – birds are absolutely vital for our eco-system. They gobble up pests (meaning we don’t have to cover our lawns in harsh chemicals) and they even alert us when there are changes in our environment that need addressing. However, in a bid to help our feathered friends, many of us accidentally assist a group of invaders with bushy tails, little claws and sharp teeth: squirrels!
Avid bird watchers know that squirrels can create a mess in a garden. In addition, they ‘bully’ birds away from bird feeders, stealing their food and claiming the territory as their own. If that’s something you want to avoid, here is how you can deter squirrels from your garden and protect birds instead with just four easy steps.
- Squirrel Proof Your Feeding Stations – Adding a squirrel proof feeder is a very effective way of dissuading squirrels from treating your garden like a 24/7 restaurant. These days, there are plenty of squirrel proof feeders to choose from – some have built-in domes to protect your seed, while others have weight activated perches that close access to feeding ports when squirrels attempt to feast, take a look at how they work below.
- Remove Bird Tables – You also might consider removing the bird tables from your garden. Although they can make a great ornamental feature, these types of feeders also attract all kinds of animals to come and eat in your garden because they’re so easy to reach. Essentially, a bird table is a free-for-all buffet for hungry squirrels. Instead, invest in a bird feeder that is elevated off the ground.
- Make Food Less Accessible – You can also help to deter squirrels by putting food sources somewhere inconvenient. The harder it is for squirrels to reach food, the less likely they are to feast. For instance, try to position bird seed well away from tree branches and hedgerows. Squirrels will use branches as a ‘bridge’ between a tree and a bird feeder. Put food out in the open, right in the centre of your garden if possible. Unlike squirrels, birds can fly to the feeder and devour the seed you’ve given them!
- Spice Things Up – Finally, if you already have a problem with squirrels stealing food in your garden, you can rid them by delivering an unpleasant surprise. Start by sprinkling chilli powder on the seed for a fast and cost-effective way to deter them. Birds don’t notice the heat, but squirrels will find it very off putting. Dust a little bit of chilli powder over seeds and suet mixes, taking care not to get any in your eyes in the process.
Follow these four simple tips and you will soon notice a decline in the number of squirrels in your garden – then you can get back to enjoying the sights and sounds feathered friends at your feeders instead.