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One of the biggest challenges that you're likely to face with bird feeders is squirrels trying to get at the food inside. They can walk on wire, jump over a metre straight up, leap 3 metres across and climb almost anything. These tips will help make your bird feeders squirrel proof.

Squirrel Stealing Bird Food

Squirrels' ability to hang upside down and contort their bodies into many forms mean nut feeders can be an easy target for them. Squirrels tend to be less interested in seeds such as niger and thistle seed, although sunflower seeds are still an attraction to them. You could also add some cayenne pepper to you bird food which squirrels don't like but has no effect on birds.

First of all ensure that you hang your bird feeder at least 2 1/2 metres from a tree trunk, roof top, post or fence and hang them at least 1 1/2 metres from the ground. This should go some way to prevent squirrels being able to jump to the feeders.

Bird feeders that are made from wood are the most susceptible to damage from squirrels chewing on them so choose feeders that are made from plastic, stainless steel and other metals.

You can also buy plastic tubular bird feeders that are surrounded by a metal or wire cage which will also prevent squirrels attacking the feeder but still allow small birds easy access.

A baffle is an umbrella shaped barrier that is placed above a hanging bird feeder or below a pole mounted feeder. You might also want to consider using a piece of PVC piping placed over a post that the feeder is hung from. This will be available from any DIY store and squirrels find it impossible to climb the PVC pipe.

Another option would be to string a piece of wire between two trees in your garden and hang the bird feeder from this. Then place some lengths of PVC or empty plastic bottles along the wire which should cause the squirrel to fall off if it attempts to clamber across the wire.

You can also buy bird feeders with perches that collapse under the weight of anything heavier than a bird or will spin to fling a predator off.

If all else fails you could give squirrels their own feeding station. Offer them some dried corn on a low ground feeder which should interest them more than your birds' food.

If you have a problem with squirrels in your garden stealing the food you put out for birds, then take a look at this selection of squirrel proof bird feeders.

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