Mission impossible: How do you stop squirrels eating all your bird food?

 

I'm starting to question whether the words "bird feeder" and "squirrel-proof" should ever appear in the same sentence. I mean, I don't want to involve trading standards, but on the other hand, wouldn't it be more accurate if somewhere in there, you came across the word "relatively"?

It's all very well claiming that a bird feeder is specially designed to resist the incursions of the grey, furry-tailed garden rodents. Designers have certainly put a lot of thought into the problem. There are bird feeders which snap shut if more than a specified weight lands on them. There are bird feeders where the feeding windows are protected by an iron cage. There are all sorts of devious blueprints.

It's just that the world is also full of even more devious squirrels.

At this time of year, those devious squirrels also happen to be hungry; and they're stockpiling; and they seem to be able to devise new ways of getting round our bird feeders with each passing week.

I suppose we should feel amused. It's just that we are getting through what feels like bags and bags of bird food essentially to nourish four fat rodents that clearly don't really need it.

We've tried a number of options. First there was the window-mounted "squirrel-proof" bird feeder. This was devised on the principle that if you stick something to the middle of a flat wall with suction, there's no way for a squirrel to get up or down. Great. Well, it was until the Baumgartner-worthy jump from the redcurrant bush pioneered by one brave squirrel soul this spring. The jump wasn't the end of it – it was followed by a heavy footed stamping, aiming to bring the feeder to earth. It turns out that if you can't eat out of it, you can shake it until it falls down and then just collect the contents off the ground. Simple.

At that point we acquired a heavy duty reinforced-iron-cage bird feeder which claimed absolute squirrel-proofness. And it was indeed squirrel-proof. For a while. To the designers' credit, it took at least four months for the experimentally minded rodents to work out a solution. Here again it involved shaking. (Beginning to see a theme here?) If the squirrels pattered sufficiently up and down the branch holding the feeder, the contents started to fall earthwards, again emptying the food reservoir.

A quick survey of gardening colleagues reveals that I am not alone. There are people whose squirrels can, somehow, open the top of their squirrel-proof bird feeders, turning them into an all-you-can-eat squirrel buffet. People whose squirrels wobbled the protective bird-table baffle until they could use it as a feeding platform, and then sat under it snaffling grub while now conveniently sheltered from the wind and rain. There are even people whose squirrels (and this is hardcore) just bit through the wire cages until they got to delicious fat cake.

So let's get to work on those marketing slogans, guys. "A bit squirrel-proof"? Now that's more like it.

Catch us if you can

The most squirrel-proof feeder I've tried

Squirrels seem to be able to shake a bit of seed out of the Nuttery Squirrel-Proof Globe, but it's mostly pretty good. On the downside, it's trickier to clean than some other bird feeders. £19.99

For those still seeing the funny side

Check out Bill Adler's Outwitting Squirrels: 101 Cunning Stratagems to Reduce Dramatically the Egregious Misappropriation of Seed from Your Birdfeeder by Squirrels. The perfect gift at £9.50

For the truly Desperate

The Big Cheese squirrel traps cost £7.39. But be warned: they're not at all suitable for vegetarians.

All available from amazon.co.uk

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments