Bird feeders provide entertainment for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts alike, but unwanted guests such as squirrels can detract from this experience by preventing birds from truly enjoying a feeder. With their ability to jump and strong teeth for gnawing, squirrels can be persistent.
To deter them from getting onto bird feeders, some bird feeders employ features designed to keep agile squirrels from accessing the food that’s intended for birds. The best squirrel proof bird feeders also use materials that squirrels can’t damage while making attractive additions to a garden or patio. Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, and attracting a wide range of birds, these feeders are helpful if squirrels often make quick work of your birdseed.
Keep reading to learn about some of the important features to consider when looking for the best squirrel proof bird feeder, and give some of our top considerations a look.
- BEST OVERALL: Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Squirrel-Proof Feeder
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Brome Squirrel Buster Mini Squirrel-Proof Feeder
- UPGRADE PICK: Droll Yankees Domed Cage Sunflower Seed Bird Feeder
- BEST LARGE: Droll Yankees Yankee Flipper Squirrel-Proof Feeder
- BEST CHEW-PROOF: Brome Squirrel Solution200 Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
- BEST WINDOW: Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder
- BEST FOR SUET: More Birds Squirrel-X Double Suet Bird Feeder
- BEST POST: Woodlink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
There are a few key considerations when looking for the best squirrel proof bird feeder, including style and size. The type of bird feeder and how easy it is to use can also be important. The following are some of the most essential features to think about when searching for a way to keep squirrels out of a bird feeder.
There are different ways to make a bird feeder squirrel proof, including baffles, cages, tension springs, collapsible perches, and rolling mechanisms. Each of the different types has unique advantages.
- A baffle is a type of dome, usually made out of plastic or metal, that goes over the actual bird feeder to prevent squirrels from climbing down onto it and accessing the seeds. Baffles may also be used on pole-mounted bird feeders to prevent squirrels from climbing up to the feeder.
- With cage bird feeders, a cage surrounds the actual feeder, which allows birds to access the food with their beaks or by slipping through the bars of the cage. The cage makes it difficult or impossible for squirrels to successfully nab the food.
- Some bird feeders use tension springs, which essentially close the feeding area when too much weight is put on it. So, while birds can sit on a perch and eat, a squirrel’s weight will cause the spring to restrict the feeding area, preventing the squirrel from accessing food.
- With collapsible perches, a bird can safely sit and eat, while the weight of a squirrel will cause the perch to bend and the squirrel will be dropped to the ground.
- A bird feeder with a rolling mechanism will turn completely when a squirrel drops on it, which will throw the squirrel off while birds fly away. It rights itself immediately and automatically, so birds can come back to feed while squirrels are deterred.
Different bird feeders have different capacities in regard to how much food they can hold. Some are smaller and designed exclusively for suet food, while others can hold several pounds of birdseed. Which size and capacity right depend on your preferences.
While smaller feeders will need to be refilled more often if there are a lot of birds feeding, a smaller size can be ideal if there are only a few visitors. For others, a large bird feeder that doesn’t need to be filled with birdseed as often makes the most sense.
The size can also determine how many birds can feed at one time: Cylinder-shaped feeders typically contain between four to six feeding ports. The size can also affect which birds come to a feeder. While cardinals and finches like cylinder feeders, woodpeckers often go for larger platform feeders.
Size may also affect where a bird feeder can be placed. Larger feeders typically need more support when hanging or mounting, while lighter feeders or window feeders offer more flexibility as far as location.
While squirrel proof bird feeders can be made of different materials, they aren’t typically made from wood. Squirrels have tough front teeth that can gnaw at wood, making other materials a better option. A few popular materials used to construct these feeders include metal, plastic, acrylic, and epoxy resin.
- Metal, such as powder-coated steel, can be very durable. It can also get hot in higher temperatures, which may not be ideal for warmer climates or sunny areas.
- Plastic is a universal material that is generally durable, easy to clean, and prevents feeders from breaking in case they are dropped. UV-stabilized plastic is a popular material for bird feeders, as it prevents discoloration from the sun over time.
- Acrylic is often used for window feeders and other types, as it’s see-through and can allow for unobstructed bird-watching.
- Epoxy resin is a durable, synthetic resin material capable of preventing damage from squirrels chewing on feeders in an attempt to get to the food.
Feeders also are made of a combination of materials, such as metal and plastic, to combine the benefits of each type of material.
Most bird feeders are designed for different types of birds, but some are more suited for certain types of birds than others. For example, squirrel proof suet feeders surrounded by a cage can work better for birds with long beaks, like woodpeckers and other larger birds. Others, such as window feeders, are typically more ideal for smaller species of birds, like wrens and finches.
Some squirrel proof bird feeders also are designed to hold suet, sunflower seeds, or another specific type of food, meaning they aren’t ideal for every bird type. For example, insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers love suet, but sunflower seeds are enjoyed by a wider variety of birds. Most feeders allow for a seed mix, so you can attract different types of birds without fretting about which species will like what food.
Ease of Use
The best squirrel proof bird feeders are the best for a reason—they keep squirrels from sabotaging your birdseed. However, they can be tricky to operate, as the design features meant to throw off squirrels may also make it more difficult for humans to fill them with birdseed.
Some squirrel proof bird feeders are easier to use than others. Most are designed to be filled through the top. Some also come with mounting equipment if they’re pole- or window-mounted, while others give you the option of hanging the feeder from a tree or a stand.
If the bird feeder can hold a large amount of seed, seed clogging at the bottom can be an issue. Some squirrel proof bird feeders contain internal baffles which can help evenly distribute the seed to feeding ports to prevent clogging.
The best squirrel proof bird feeders often have additional features that make them a good investment, such as a ventilation system to keep birdseed from going bad, chew-proof features to stop stubborn squirrels from ruining a feeder, and domes to protect a feeder from the elements and offer additional squirrel protection. There also are different styles and designs, including feeders shaped like houses or those that feature green metal leaf decals.
Which additional features will be the most beneficial depends on your particular location, which types of birds you want to feed, and how aggressive the local squirrels are about getting food.
Our Top Picks
The best squirrel proof bird feeder can take many forms, from tension spring designs to spinning and chew-proof creations. These are the top picks, including mini designs and extra-large feeders, for some of the best squirrel proof bird feeders for gardens and patios based on material, design features, and seed capacity.
With the ability to hold more than 5 pounds of birdseed, this squirrel proof bird feeder uses a tension spring to keep squirrels from accessing food. The squirrel’s weight causes the feeding ports to close automatically. This tension system is adjustable, meaning it can be altered to allow smaller birds to feed while keeping bigger birds such as crows off. It also comes with a cardinal ring, which allows cardinals to comfortably sit and eat.
This bird feeder is made with a type of epoxy resin called RoxResin that prevents damage from determined squirrels’ chewing. It has a ventilation system to allow proper airflow through the feeder and to prevent birdseed from going bad. Easy to assemble, this squirrel proof bird feeder is the best overall pick.
This mini bird feeder holds about a pound of birdseed and features four metal perches. Made out of durable steel, the feeder uses a tension spring, which automatically closes feeding ports when a squirrel’s weight hits the perches. The feeder is designed to be hung with clearance so that the tension spring works as intended.
The feeder also features a ventilation system, easy assembly, and components made from a type of epoxy resin called RoxResin to prevent damage from chewing. Designed for all types of birdseed for a variety of birds, this feeder is affordable, making it the best bang for the buck.
This squirrel proof bird feeder features both a cage and a dome to keep squirrels off. The dome also helps protect the seed inside the feeder from the elements. The dome is clear, which allows for unobstructed bird-watching. It comes with six feeding ports and features a 2.5-pound seed capacity.
Made of plastic and metal, this bird feeder allows songbirds to easily fit through the cage openings while squirrels and larger birds cannot. It comes with a stainless steel wire for hanging, but it can also be pole-mounted. It works well with a variety of birdseed to attract different kinds of birds.
This 21-inch feeder holds 5 pounds of birdseed and features a motorized perch ring, which spins under the weight of the squirrel to flip the squirrel off the feeder. However, it accommodates birds both large and small without activating the spin feature. It has four feeding ports and is constructed with metal and UV-stabilized plastic to prevent discoloration over time. It also features an internal baffle to prevent seed clogging at the bottom of the feeder.
For additional deterrence, squirrels should not be able to budge the tightly fitting, heavy metal cap, and the feeding tube is designed to be too difficult for them to hold on to. Made to accommodate a variety of birdseeds and attract a variety of birds, this large squirrel proof bird feeder has a lot to offer.
For persistent squirrels who can ruin feeders by chewing on them to gain access to food, the Squirrel Solution200 offers chew-proof protection with RoxResin, an epoxy resin that is 100 percent chew-proof, waterproof, rustproof, and UV stabilized to prevent discoloration.
This attractive midsize feeder uses a tension spring that reacts to the weight of the squirrel to prevent squirrels from feeding. Birds can hold on to its six feeding ports as well as the green metal cage that encloses the feeder. The feeder has a seed ventilation system and holds 3.4 pounds of seed. It works best with black oil sunflower seeds, which can attract a wide range of birds, including cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers, and blue jays.
This acrylic bird feeder comes with suction cups to hang on to a window for close-up bird- watching. While it doesn’t have any specific features that repel squirrels, simply placing the feeder high enough off the ground and away from any jump-off points can prevent squirrels from accessing the seed.
The feeder has drain holes to prevent water buildup, and its acrylic material, along with a removable tray, makes it easy to clean. It even has a cover to keep birds dry during rain or snow while eating, along with a padded grip for birds to perch. The cover can also protect birds from squirrels trying to land on the feeder. Holding up to 4 cups of birdseed, this feeder is affordable, convenient, and provides entertainment without needing to use binoculars.
Best for insect-feeding birds, this suet feeder holds two cakes of suet and is surrounded by a cage to effectively keep squirrels out. The top also secures tightly so squirrels can’t work it off to gain access to the suet.
This feeder can also hold seed cakes for smaller birds. Made with a powder-coated steel cage to resist rusting, it allows smaller birds to slip inside and larger birds to reach in to access the seed. Easy to use with a lid that protects suet from the elements, this squirrel proof feeder is designed to be hung and can’t be pole-mounted.
This squirrel-resistant bird feeder is made of powder-coated steel and comes complete with a 5-foot mounting pole and all necessary hardware. It also comes with hanging hardware. Designed with a tension spring that collapses the seed port under a squirrel’s weight, this feeder effectively keeps squirrels out.
With light, medium, and heavy settings, the spring is adjustable and can be altered to accommodate small to large birds. Chew-proof with a locking top, this feeder is double-sided, so birds can feed from both sides. It’s easy to fill with seed and holds up to 2 gallons of birdseed.
FAQs About Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Now that you know more about squirrel proof bird feeder types and features, you may have a few lingering questions. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about squirrel proof bird feeders.
Q. Can a squirrel climb a metal pole?
Yes, squirrels can climb metal poles. If you’re trying to deter these furry creatures, using squirrel proof bird feeders is important. Plastic or metal baffles can help keep squirrels from successfully climbing poles.
Q. Do bird feeders attract rats?
Bird feeders don’t attract rats. However, spilled seed from a bird feeder that’s left on the ground has the potential to attract them.
Q. Where should I put my bird feeder in my yard?
Many birds like bird feeders near natural shelters such as trees, but placing feeders near trees can give squirrels easy access to your feeder. Putting feeders in an open space can help deter squirrels.