Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

August 21, 2014

Squirrelly Over Squirrels

Filed under: Squirrel — wbuomaha @ 12:51 pm
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Squirrels are surprising little rodents. They can jump 4-6 feet vertically, 8-10 feet horizontally, and they’re fearless in dropping from above on something that interests them. Your birdfeeder, maybe?

And squirrels love to eat. They can smell food from great distances. This assists them in finding adequate nourishment as squirrels eat more than their body weight in food each week. With their two sharp incisors, these critters can easily gnaw through seeds and nuts-not to mention birdfeeders, deck rails and plastic birdseed containers. Using their well-developed athletic ability, they can cling to objects with the toes of their back feet to hang upside down, allowing them to use their “hands” to stuff food in their mouths. Their amusing antics can entertain and amaze.
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If you want to keep these critters from devouring seed intended for the birds, here are a few solutions you can try:
1. Squirrel-proof feeders. One type of squirrel-proof feeder is the weight-activated class of feeders. They work on the same principle–that squirrels are much heavier than birds. The feeders are set to close off access to the birdseed when the squirrel gets onto them. With this type of feeder, be sure to locate it far enough away from anything that would allow the squirrel to access the seed without climbing onto the feeder. A second type of squirrel-proof feeder is the one with a cage around it to prevent the bandits from accessing the food. These will also prevent larger birds from getting to the feeder.
2. Dome baffles. In order to be successful, a dome baffle must be large enough to cover the feeder so the squirrel cannot access it from above. The dome-baffled feeder must be hung at least 6, but preferably 8 feet from a tree trunk, a fence or anything that would enable the squirrel to jump from it to the feeder (under the baffle.) The bottom of the feeder should be at least 5 feet above the ground.
3. Pole or post baffles. These baffles prevent squirrels from climbing up a pole or post. They can be very effective if the pole or post is not under a tree or anything else the squirrel could drop from and at least 6 to 10 feet away from a fence or deck rail or anything the critter could jump from to land above the baffle. The top of the baffle should be at least five feet above the ground.
4. Safflower Seed. Although squirrels will eat most anything when they are hungry, they tend not to like safflower seed.
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If you want to feed the squirrels, there are many varieties of feeders on the market designed especially for them. Some can be quite amusing and others make the critters work for their meal. However, you will want to place their food away from windowsills and doors so you don’t invite these demanding creatures to chew through your screens and gnaw on the wood. It is often helpful to keep their food away from birdfeeding stations as well.

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