Squirrels are magnificent creatures to watch as they carry out a spectacular show of gymnastics climbing trees and any other objects that get in their way but not everybody is delighted to see them, especially if the gymnastics squirrels are performing are in order to get to bird feed which had been intended for the small birds that visit gardens. Unfortunately this is an occurrence that happens all too often as, unlike popular belief, squirrels also find it hard to find food in the winter. The popular belief is that because squirrels hoard seeds in the summer, they readily feed on those seeds in the winter months.
The reality is though that although squirrels do keep hoards of food in preparation for harsher times, they regularly forget where they kept their hoard and so suffer the same food shortages as the birds and other animals. People that are aware of this will often put out squirrel feeders as well as bird feeders and in those cases, the squirrels leave the bird feed for the birds and only eat what has been left out for them. If anyone does not want to feed the squirrels though, yet still wants to feed the birds, they will have to get anti-squirrel bird feeders in order to stop the squirrels from eating the bird feed. There are several types of squirrel proof bird feeders on the market today and the most popular of them seems to be what is known as a spinning bird feeder. This is a bird feeder that allows small, light birds to easily feed but if heavier birds or squirrels try to feed, the perch spins preventing the larger birds or squirrels to get a good hold, forcing them to leave the perch without eating.
It is very effective but does have one flaw and that is that whilst spinning, bird feed is thrown out landing on the ground. Although this may not be much, it is enough to keep the larger birds and squirrels in the vicinity to eat what spills. Another squirrel proof bird feeder has doors that automatically close when a weight heavier than that of a small bird steps on the feeding perch. One other preventative measure that is sometimes used is the placement of a special dome halfway up the pole on which the bird feeder sits. This special dome does not allow squirrels to pass and so they cannot reach the feeder. The squirrels cannot reach the feeder up the pole at least but if the feeder’s pole has been placed close enough to a tree or a building, a squirrel may climb that and then jump across to the bird feeder.
When all is considered, as the squirrels will probably not stray far from the garden anyway, it may be best just to give them their own feeder and then you may be able to enjoy a gymnastics display as well as be able to ensure that the small birds that visit your garden, get fed.