By Melissa Block, our Wayzata, Minn., Store Manager
While you’re away at work, or just having your morning coffee, they are quietly assessing your weak points, looking for any vulnerability. Before you realize it, they launch their attacks – from the air, the land and the trees.
We’re talking about those Gumby-like creatures: squirrels. They can eat enormous quantities of bird seed and destroy just about any unprotected feeder. You need to expect this attack and plan your feeder placement defensively. Squirrels are amazing acrobats: they can jump UP 4-5 feet, leap ACROSS 10 to 12 feet, drop from just about any distance, and climb just about anything. They’re your urban seed warrior.
One of the best solutions to combat these fiends is the use of baffles. If the squirrels are attacking your feeder from above, (if your feeder is hanging in a tree) you can use a baffle above the feeder. You need to make sure that the tree limb you are using is isolated so that they cannot get to it (remember they can jump 10-12 feet horizontally). Baffles used for hanging feeders are usually made of heavy-duty plastic or metal, are dome-shaped and come in different colors. The baffle should be able to tilt, rather than remaining stationary. If the squirrels get to the baffle they will slide off. The baffle should be at least 18 inches in diameter and you’ll hang the feeder from a metal chain and hook under the baffle. It’s best to have a 2-3 foot gap between the tree limb and the top of the baffle.
If you want to hang your feeder from an overhang or porch it may be impossible to keep the squirrels away from your feeder. In this position they would have two access points – one from above and one from the side. Remember, squirrels can and will climb just about anything – wood siding, vinyl siding, stucco and brick. In this case you’ll need to use just plain safflower seed (which has a bitter taste to squirrels) or use a squirrel-resistant feeder.
If you are using a feeder on a 4X4” post you really, really need a baffle. Squirrels will be up and down that post like they’re on an escalator. Baffles for 4X4s” can be torpedo-shaped or cone-shaped and will screw right onto the post. Place the top of the baffle at least 4½ feet from the ground.
The best option is a pole system located at least 10-12 feet away from any jumping-off point. Look around before you decide where to place your feeders, keeping in mind that squirrels can leap from power lines, roofs and tree limbs. You’ll need to put a baffle on any pole, since squirrels can scurry up just about anything. Pole baffles are attached to the pole and are shaped like a disk, cone or torpedo. Place the baffle at least 4½ – 5 feet up the pole. Be sure that your feeders do not hang below the baffle, since the squirrels can just climb up to the baffle and leap sideways to the feeder.
If you need more advice in battling your neighborhood Ninjas, just drop us an email. We’ve helped people just like you for more than a dozen years and are always up to a new challenge.