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Squirrel -proof bird feeding

B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,081
I gave up putting out feed for birds a few years ago. I was just feeding squirrels.

It occurs to me that there must be some things that squirrels don't fancy.
What about those wormy things or fat balls?

Can anyone suggest something that only birds would be interested in?
In London. Keen but lazy.
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  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    We live alongside a large ancient woodland and are inundated with greys. We eventually opted for caged feeders for the peanuts and mixed seed so the small birds are catered for. Unfortunately it means we no longer get the woodpeckers who were daily visitors. The squirrels don't show any interest in the non-caged nyjer seed feeders which are the staple diet for the daily goldfinch visitors. 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,253
    This could be an urban myth, but I think birds can’t taste chillis. I’m pretty sure that squirrels can. I know that rats can. Chilli sauce is an excellent rat deterrent.

    Maybe throw some chilli powder over your bird seed.

    (This excellent answer just came to me - I too am plagued by squirrels that steal all the bird seed. I think I shall try my own suggestion tomorrow.)😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LG_LG_ SE LondonPosts: 4,049
    I have two squirrel proof feeders that actually ARE squirrel proof. Had them for a few years - the squirrels investigate occasionally, then give up. The parakeets can't get in either. They're quite expensive (luckily they were presents), but they do work. The brand name is The Nuttery.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • herbaceousherbaceous OxfordshirePosts: 2,313
    I have The Nuttery feeders as well, also some very good, but very ancient, squirrel proof feeders for use when I am washing t'others. They do keep the squirrel out and the parakeets.

    I don't know that the theory of the fat balls not being attractive to squirrels is true. My brother swears 'his' squirrel waited until the magpies had taken enough to lighten the load and then swiped the whole thing!  Presumably to open and enjoy at its leisure. He threatened to search for its home to retrieve his cage.

    I laughed at his fanciful story ( imagine that Jaws music here) until a week later my suet block cage also went missing ????????
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    Fat block, peanuts and sunflower seeds are all in squirrel proof feeders. One of the feeders (seed) has a strong clip on it (the clip you get on the end of a dog's lead) as the squirrels discovered how to open the feeder.  They haven't succeeded with the clip.
    SW Scotland
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,253
    Well, I tried mixing chilli powder with the bird seed and put it out on the walls as usual today.

    Not a squirrel to be seen anywhere near it, whereas normally the squirrels would be first in and leave only the rubbish for the birds.

    The jackdaws seemed to enjoy it even more with chilli powder on it.😊
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,081
    Looks like it might be worth trying. Although the birds can't taste it, is it certain that the chilli does them no harm?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,253
    Well, funnily enough, after I had had my whizzo moment and just as I thought that I might be on my way to my first million, I thought I’d look to see if anyone had beaten me to it.

    And here we are, from them what know

    https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/grey-squirrel-deterrents/

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,872
    @Dave Humby - I found a couple of "caged" feeders in which the squirrel-proof outer cage is close enough to the inner food container for the woodpeckers to be able to use them, because they have quite long beaks.  I thought they were made by Gardman but they don't seem to be on their current list... worth looking out for though.

    The other solution, which works providing your feeder is on a pole, not hanging, and there's nothing nearby from which a squirrel can jump onto the feeder, is a squirrel baffle.  It looks like a large upside down plastic mixing bowl with a hole in, and you thread it onto the feeder pole just below the feeder and tighten up the collar which attaches it.  It's quite fun watching the squirrels running confidently up the pole, reaching the bowl and getting rather cross...

    And I've just seen an ad for the (expensive) Ark Wildlife "squirrel buster" peanut feeder, one of those which closes if the creature sitting on it is too heavy.  The blurb says the weight activated control can be adjusted.  First weigh your woodpecker...   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,300
    I feed nuts in one of the heavy duty feeders - the mesh is the waste product stuff from punching out washers from sheet metal.  The squirrels used to have a go, but can only get tiny bits at a time, so soon gave up.  Mr and Mrs woodpecker are there most days 😀
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