Jan 15, 2013

Need an Effective Squirrel Deterrent?

**UPDATE - We had to put a galvanized tube over the green pipe because after a couple of weeks, one squirrel was able to jump high enough to be able to climb to the top. Now they can't even hang on at all. (wink)
Squirrels at the bird feeder
Are you like me? I know I'm not the only one. Do you have a major problem with keeping the squirrels out of your bird feeders? You feel like you've tried everything? All the expensive feeder gimmicks? Luckily, I haven't gone that route, but don't think I haven't been tempted. I'm just too cheap!

If we lived somewhere that didn't have over 13 acres of acorn producing woodland, this might not bother me. But we do! There are piles of acorns everywhere for them to eat! 

I've tried one method that was effective in the summer, but not so much in the winter. That was slathering up the feeder pole with gobs of Vaseline. It HAD to be Vaseline too. I tried the dollar store variety and they were a different consistency that was noticeably different in texture. It proved to be no match for the squirrels. Vaseline was good for the warmer months, but must get a little harder in the winter time which still allows the squirrels to get a grip on the pole and shimmy up it to a feast of the sunflower seeds that await at the top. Grrrr!

So as we were having breakfast Sunday morning, we noticed that the squirrels were able to jump halfway up the metal pole and make their way up the other couple of feet to the feeder. I just mentioned nonchalantly to my husband that I wonder if the pole was just skinny enough for the squirrels to get their paws around and that's why they had no problem getting up there. 

What if......what if there was a big pipe that we could slip over the pole that was too big for the squirrels paws to wrap around and NOT get a grip on? Hmmm....my hubby was pondering this thought. 

Lucky for me, the hubby is a plumber and there is always pieces of pipe (among other "supplies") sitting around just in case. It just so happens that there was a long enough piece of 4" pipe laying behind the garage. I never had a doubt there was. He did some measuring and went to work.

bird feeder

Of course the pipe HAD to be this vivid shade of green and all nasty from sitting on the ground for who knows how long. A total eyesore indeed. It will surely be a true test, because I'm sure the squirrels wondered what in the world that tall green giant thing was that goes up to their stash of food. 

Shoot! It didn't scare them! 

at. first. 

Oh yeah, they thought they were just going to go scurrying up that green giant like it was just another tree. And they had a pretty good start! I thought to myself, "Oh no, failure again." But as I'm watching them, one by one, try to outdo the other in their mighty attempts to climb that green giant, they could get so far up and then they'd stop! Oh, they'd try to hold on. They'd look to the ground as they begin to slowly slide back down and then they'd have to jump back down to the ground. Each one failed. Miserably. YES!

This is about as far on the post as they can jump up to. He's hanging on for all it's worth. 

So the pipe has to be long enough that they can't jump high enough to reach the top. This one is probably about 6 ft. tall. It's taller than me and I'm 5'2".

Here's the same one, after numerous tries of jumping onto the pipe, he has to jump down each time. He never makes it all the way up. 


Now the squirrels all just hang out like bottom feeders, eating only what falls from the diner that hangs above them. Out of their reach. 

The pipe is probably not cheap, but it can save you a bundle over time in the amount of bird seed you buy that goes in the squirrel's bellies & not the birds.  

I don't know if galvanized pipe would be any better since it would get a rough texture over time, giving them something to help them cling onto, unless you want to slick it up with Vaseline also. Just a thought.

I hope this works for the long haul and I hope it works for you if you try it.

 Linking to these parties:


Tracy said...

LOL, good call on the pipe.
Quite a few years ago we had squirrels stealing the bird seed.
I sprayed cooking spray on the pipe and video taped them jumping up and swirling down the pole, it was hilarious.

Do you love him Loretta said...

OMG I practically pee'd my pants while reading the post and looking at that squirrel! So funny! I actually think the colour of the pipe looks great (maybe not closeup but from the distance). Also, your bulletin board was so pretty. I've made chalk boards but never bulletin boards. I've got some old frames which would work. I just need to find cork or something large enough! Nice to meet you, and thanks for your nice comments.

Marti said...

What a great idea! I've been thinking I need to replace all our wood bird house poles and feeder poles with a metal pole. I'll remember to put a wider pipe around them.

I have a terrible time with my pecan tree. If it isn't the squirrels, it's the crows.

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