Staying ahead of your neighborhood squirrel

by Jim Sweeney

A bird feeder can be an amazing addition to any outdoor backyard living space, yet what do you do when the birds aren't the ones that are feeding? Here are some tricks to keeping pesky squirrels out of your bird feeders and keep the birds off your outdoor deck furniture. 

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Use squirrel-proof feeders. There are several on the market that are weight-activated, allowing birds to feed but not squirrels. Some have better features, and might last longer, but are also a bit on the expensive side. This solution might sound like it needs a landscape engineer of some sorts but in reality, you can find the bird feeder you need for your modern or traditional garden.

Use a squirrel-resistant feeder if you are budget minded. These tend to be less expensive, and are not quite as sturdy but will do the trick. These feeders will definitely slow down the seed consumption and might work if you only have an occasional squirrel, but are not truly squirrel-proof like the choices above.

Spice it up! Try mixing some spice in with your birdseed! Birds naturally process spice with no harm to their bodies, yet squirrels have a much more complicated taste palate that is sensitive to spice. Experts recommend using hot peppers (capsicum), or pepper flakes to detour those pesky rodents. The only thing to stay away from is the use of powdered hot pepper, because it is known to blow into birds eyes due to wind and keep them away from your modern house design.