Squirrels & Feeders

Some of us choose to do battle with our local squirrels at the bird feeders. I confess to being one of them. Both humans and squirrels are creative. The challenge of foiling the squirrels is one I accept and enjoy. They usually win.

Several years ago our daughter bought a feeder for us that was supposed to be guaranteed squirrel-proof. It has a motorized perch for the birds. If a squirrel gets on it, their weight causes it to spin rapidly throwing them off. The Yankee Flipper did a good job. We were entertained for a few days as squirrels hopped on and were flipped off. This video shows one of our locals giving it a ride.

They soon quit trying. Then it became just another feeder. And, last year the rechargeable batteries quit holding charge for long. They only lasted a couple of days. That really emboldened the squirrels. Most of them went out on the rope and hung their bodies down from the wire bracket by their hind feet and ate leisurely. I needed some way to make the bracket impossible to grip. The local Goodwill store had a plastic bowl the right size. I put it in place as you see in this video. It seems to work well. Their bodies are not quite long enough.

There is still the batteries problem. I need to buy a replacement part for the spinner. It is fun to see the squirrels who are passing through and are unfamiliar with the spinner. They get a few rides and then quit. The locals know better. On YouTube are several videos posted by people with the same spinner. One in particular made me watch in amazement. This guy hung on for over 2 minutes. The owners said it wasn’t harmed. It got up and ran in a straight line down the drive. Are squirrels not subject to getting dizzy?


15 thoughts on “Squirrels & Feeders

  1. Anne

    They look very cute twirling around, but I bet you don’t think so. Don’t have many where I am so can afford to see them with starry eyes

      1. Anne

        So interesting, thanks. I keep my feeders filled with all sorts of seed and fat and I’m rewarded by lots of visiting birds.
        I have lots of frogs so have frog houses for shelter, I looked in one yesterday and there was a neat pile of seed husks in the centre. Seems mice are using it too.
        I also feed, and house, vining hedgehogs, they are sadly in decline here.

        1. Jim R Post author

          I’ve never heard of having frog houses. And, it seems hedgehogs don’t live in N America. They seem like cute little critters.

  2. shoreacres

    The never-ending battle between humans and squirrels is a never-ending source of amusement: for both species, I suspect. Of course, our amusement can turn to aggravation, but that probably only amuses the squirrels more.

    They certainly have been busy around here. You’d think winter was coming. Actually, it may be. I saw two big Vs of geese overhead this week, and the ospreys are coming in. I saw a grouping of about a dozen yesterday, riding the strong north wind. It’s exciting to see.

  3. underswansea

    I enjoyed the videos. Those are big squirrels in your area! My Good Neighbour, down the way, enjoyed a similar relationship with a squirrel. He loved watching it and came up with ingenious ways to keep it and the bird feed separate. Whenever I was over for a beer he would show me the squirrels routine. His immediate neighbour beside him is a cranky religious guy, younger than us, big healthy guy, lazy as the day is long, we call him The Deacon. He doesn’t work, says he can’t. His wife and small girls are some of the hardest workers I know. They are always in the yard in long dresses tending the garden, cooking on the BBQ, getting firewood, shovelling snow, while The Deacon plays video games. It is funny how many of these guys I have known over the years. I have always thought religion must be invented by men because women sure seem to get the shitty end of the stick. Anyway, one day, The Deacon comes out of the house, rifle in hand and shoots the squirrel. Because he is an idiot he shoots it in the hind end. The squirrel claws his way up a tree to die. He goes back in side, his wife and girls, are left standing looking into the branches. The Good Neighbour sees it all and comes over. The kids say, “Daddy shot the squirrel it’s up there dying!” The Good Neighbour felt terrible. He texted me to tell me what happened. I asked him if he wanted me to come over and finish him off. He said no. I think he may have thought I meant The Deacon. Days later I took the opportunity to let The Deacon know, if he has reason to shoot an animal and I emphasized ‘reason’, to do it proper. The Good Neighbour now has a chipmunk he has developed a relationship with. So far The Deacon has left it alone.

    1. Jim R Post author

      I had to read that to Melanie. We both had a good laugh. Especially about finishing him off. We think your assessment of religion and men is spot-on. I hope he continues to leave the chipmunk alone. If not, I might be reading some interesting news out of BC.

  4. Val

    Here when squirrels become too much of a nuisance, we use chilli (often in the form of chilli paste or chilli sauce) smeared on whatever we want to keep them off – they hate the stuff, but birds are not bothered by it.

    I love the idea of the spinner but suspect that the reason the squirrel hangs on is because it’s so startled or shocked it goes catatonic and can’t move. We’ve had ones that have got stuck in the branches of our trees and rather than trying to wriggle free, they remain motionless sometimes for hours. Then they ‘wake’ and free themselves.

    Some birds have the same reaction to anything they don’t understand – they ‘freeze’ for quite a time, as if they can’t move.

    1. Jim R Post author

      Yes, I’ve heard that chili powder works. I haven’t tried it. It is better used in our soup, I guess. 🙂

      You may be right about the squirrel freezing. They are definitely entertaining.


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