Ward Off Squirrel Raids On Your Bird Feeders With A Slinky

A classic children’s toy can be a fun way to keep squirrels from gorging themselves on your bird feeders. If your feeder is on a pole, attach the end of a slinky to the top and let the rest fall down the pole. One guy who tried it out says that since then, “the squirrels will try to jump onto the pole, grab the Slinky and promptly find themselves dumped to the ground.”

Ha! That must make for an amusing sight. Other techniques include switching to safflower seeds from sunflower because squirrels don’t care for it much, using PVC pipe for the poles because squirrels can’t climb it, or simply learning to live in harmony with the squirrels.

Check out the National Wildlife Federation article for more ideas.

Tired of Squirrels Raiding Your Bird Feeders? Here Are Ten Ways to Outwit Them [NWF]

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I can’t help but get these images in my head of squirrels getting tangled in the slinky and horror ensuing. D:

  2. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    If I had a squirrel problem, the slinky, a webcam, and a six-pack would make for some quality entertainment (at least as good as reality TV).

    Damn. Now I wish I had squirrels!

    • Gravitational Eddy says:

      Been done already.
      Check out “Daylight Robbery” from 1991 on Youtube.
      These squirrels can make those Chinese acrobats look lazy.

  3. lockdog says:

    One old farmhouse I visited had a great contraption. It was a small spinning wood wheel with a lag bolt coming off at all four quadrants. One dried ear of corn screwed onto each bolt. As soon as a squirrel would jump on they would be flipped back off as the wheel turned from their weight. I’m sure some figured out how to hang on and just wait until they settled at the bottom, but the amusement of seeing squirrel gymnastics was probably worth the low price of some feed corn.

  4. MadMaxEsq says:

    Once I solved my squirrel problem with a truly squirrel-proof birdfeeder, raccoons came along and just ripped the pole out of the ground and broke open the feeder. Where’s the solution for that, Consumerist?!

  5. aloria says:

    I eliminated my squirrel-bird feeder problem by not thinking of squirrels as a problem. They’re freaking adorable.

    • Arcaeris says:

      If Billy the Exterminator is any indication, squirrels are a major pest and if there are too many around they get into absolutely everything.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        My neighborhood is infested with squirrels. I don’t feed birds so they stay out of my yard mostly. They run around on the power lines and the top of my neighbor’s fence, making my cat crazy.

        One time one of them got up on the electrical transformer and blew it out. The entire block lost power for three or four hours. The utilities guy came down the ladder and said “You got a fried squirrel up there.”

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Except in areas where rabid squirrels are a genuine problem.

    • redskull says:

      Squirrels are just rats with good marketing.

  6. MaytagRepairman says:

    My bird feeders hang from metal arms mounted to the deck railing. I cut out the bottoms from plastic two-liter pop bottles and slid them onto the arms. A few squirrels will jump off the deck railing directly onto the feeder but none of them will run up the arm. In conjunction with feeders that are difficult for them to get into, if they do get any seed, it is well earned.

  7. Derigiberble says:

    I would live and let live, until the squirrel would jump onto the feeder itself to gorge instead of being content with the numerous fallen seeds. I was trapping and relocating the squirrels to the middle of the woods far away, and it worked great for a while. Then a pack of four moved in and they would cooperate to completely empty the feeder as quickly as possible. One wound jump on the feeder and proceed to shovel out all of the seed onto the ground (not eating form the feeder as they all used to), then jump down and join his three other buddies in snarfing down as much seed as possible. If a bird landed on the feeder he would run back up the tree and jump at it to scare it off, then return to the ground to eat. They could empty the feeder in an hour.

    So I got a feeder which is surrounded by a wire mesh with slides down when a squirrel jumps on it (Brome Squirrel Buster Classic). His gorging on the other feeder has caught up with him, because he is much heavier than any bird ever could be and his weight triggers the mechanism. To make it even better he can see the food through the mesh, but can’t get to it. It makes me a bit giggly to see him try and fail to get any food, then sit on a branch and watch angrily as the birds can easily eat what they want.

  8. uber_mensch says:

    We have a sure fire cure here. We keep a rifle next to the sliding glass door and use it.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Trust me, if my neighbors weren’t so close, I was about there. I thought of bb guns, paint balls, water balloons, havahart traps (for the fat lot of good it would do me)… outdoor cats.

      I would plant out spring bulbs and the little bastards wouldn’t even wait until I’d locked the door behind me when i was done. I’d turn around, look out the window and see one of the little freaks pulling out a seedling and digging under neath it.

      They dug up tulip bulbs for taste testing. They broke all the begonias for no other reason than that they were there – they didn’t even bother to dig them up.The little wrecking balls had destroyed a string of feeders, and when I gave up and put out no food at all, they started eating my deck furniture.

      God yes, if there were no neighbors in line of sight, I would have sat on the deck in my half eaten chair with a BB gun and picked the little buggers off.

      • MrEvil says:

        I am in as equal a hatred of squirrels as you folks are. My dad and I have suffered damage to vehicles and our homes due to those furry bastards. My house in Amarillo I had squirrels get into my attic by literally prying a board off the soffet. We replaced the now broken board with another board screwed into place and those fuckers gnawed right through it. Then we tried a license plate and they just bent it all up. We finally resorted to trapping, but not releasing as they’d just make the squirrels someone else’s problem, or they’d find their way back.

        • Red Cat Linux says:

          Yes, thanks for reminding me… my neighbors had squirrels destroy the wiring in their cars twice, and me once. I recall that one because the squirrels were unhomed from the felling of a tree in a storm. Shortly afterward, I saw momma squirrel moving her kits in mid day, and bitching about it with her mouth full. Unfortunately, she moved them into the engine of a Ford F150 that had been parked near where her tree was.

          I will say that they don’t seem to go that crazy unless their trees get taken down by man or elements.

    • SalesGeek says:

      Amen. We found the only thing that got our squirrels to back off was using a .22 with a scope. You don’t have to get all of them. Take out one and apparently word gets around in the squirrel world. It was two years before we saw another on our back porch.

  9. ellemdee says:

    I tried all sorts of squirrel-proofing contraptions and the thing I found that worked best was a cheap disposable pie tin. I hung the feeder on a shepard’s hook and poked a hole in the center of the tin. Then I fed the tin over the top of the hook and taped it to the pole a few feet off the ground (high enough that they couldn’t jump over it). I sat in my sunroom and watched them climb the pole, but they couldn’t get around the tin. Very rewarding after having them literally disassemble my bird feeders and eat 10LB of seed a day. A 2L bottle works as well, and has the added benefit of spinning when they try to climb it, but it wouldn’t work with the shepard’s hook due to the curve.

  10. centurion says:

    Can the Slinky be electrified? That would be awesome.

  11. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    Squirrels can climb PVC pipe.

    The best success I’ve had is with an upside down flower pot with the pole through it. The flower pot goes near the top. They can climb up the pole but they end up inside the flower pot. It takes some impressive acrobatics to jump from the pole to the outside of the flower pot.

  12. borgia says:

    The one thing I always saw that worked was pepper. The birds can’t taste the capsaicin and hence it does not taste hot to them but squirrels can. According to my mother who is a bird feeder type, the squirrels would eat some seed hop down rub their face on the grass and then leave the seed alone. Just go easy on the pepper, it doesn’t need to be really hot to drive the off the squirrels.

  13. Incredulous1 says:

    Vaseline works really good. Grease the pole and watch them get halfway up, then they slide down. They get in on their paws – it’s pretty funny.

    I hate the things. they build nest in my car engine every spring. Break into my garage in the winter and pee on everything. Eat my tulip bulbs, and pee on my lawn chairs.

    Don’t use the squirrel a twirl – the thingy with the corn. It encourages them to live in your yard.

  14. Snaptastic says:

    Our solution for squirrels is a pair of dogs. The last squirrel to binge on my giant sunflowers was caught by the American Eskimo and had it’s back broken when the Welsh Corgi decided to play tug-of-war with it.

  15. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    What about getting a bunch of those party-favor firecracker-like things that have strings on each end that you pull to make them explode? Tie a bunch of those around the pole, and when the squirrels jump up and grab the strings, maybe the little explosions will drive them away.

    Then again, they may just start collecting party favors. In which case, maybe a stronger explosive would be called for.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Crackers? No, you have to exert more force to pull those apart than you are likely to get from a squirrel.

      How about a dead squirrel left at the foot of the bird feeder? Like a head on a pike on the front gate? Would that be too harsh of a hint?

  16. xspook says:
  17. Mold says:

    We use rat traps…and the neighbourhood hawk makes it 100% Natural.

  18. skrolnik says:

    It’ll only work if you have no tall trees within jumping distance of the feeder at the top of the pole. Because sooner or later, a persistant squirrel will work out the right angle to hit that thing. They’re like little brushtailed terminators, the can’t be reasoned with and they WILL NOT STOP until they reach their goal. I’ve seen one gnaw through steel to get to birdseed.

  19. xamarshahx says:

    all the birds and squirrels eat together in my yard, so I can care less. I find them all amusing except when a rooster ended up in my yard that I guess a neighbor had gotten…

  20. halo969 says:

    I found squirrel baffles work best. I bought one at Home Depot and the squirrels haven’t gotten into the feeder since. I don’t mind feeding them, and will often put a pile of food and an ear of corn out for them, but I don’t like them raiding the bird feeder so that the birds don’t get anything.

    http://www.bestnest.com/bestnest/squirrel_baffles.asp?src=googleaws&kw=squirrel_baffle

  21. Zenatrul says:

    I have no squirrels where I live or at least they are never near my bird feeders. Otherwise they’d probably run into a little Yorkie/Silkie terrier(which were originally bred to hunt mice/rats) who loves to bite things and shake them around violently.

  22. MedicallyNeedy says:

    For a post-mounted feeder, staple an aluminum heating duct to it.

  23. pot_roast says:

    I wish we had squirrels anywhere near our house. My .22 isn’t getting any use. :/

  24. azsumrg1rl says:

    There’s a great video of a squirrel trying to jump on the Slinkified pole. YouTube it. (FTR, he finally succeeded. The narrator’s commentary when he does is classic.)

  25. JF says:

    I don’t care about the squirrels, I won’t put a feeder up until I can figure out how to keep the fruit rats out of it. I really don’t want to attract those buggers.