I really have no idea when or why I started to feed birds but I have not stopped since starting. It seems that in a lot of endeavors I try there crops up some element that tends to spoil the experience sometimes. For me it’s squirrels. I had no idea going into this hobby how much a squirrel can challenge my bird feeding efforts. I started putting my bird feeders in the back yard hung from a patio cover. The feeder was free from attack for a month or two but then those fur ball beasts found it and would find all kinds of ways to get into the feeder. I placed the feeder way out from anything that the squirrel could use to get to but I was amazed to see them leap great distances on to the feeders and feed themselves. I moved the feeders to the front of the house and I had about one month of non intervention before they discovered the new location. I put up a plastic shield over the top of one feeder but that only protected the feeder from rain. I then purchased a Squirrrel-Be-Gone Wild Bird Feeder (purchased at Home Depot) which has a very clever door system.
There is an outer box shield that aligns to bird feeding stations if there is no heavy weight on the outer box. When a squirrel jumps on this box the outer box slides down closing all the feeding ports. Birds do not weight enough to close the ports. This outer box has a spring that allow for this action. It took the local squirrels a week or two to start opening the top lid. The top lid is held by a spring but my squirrels must work out at the local gym because they lift that door with glee.
I tightened the spring and found that one squirrel ate the plastic down from the top. That bird feeder had to be thrown away. It was a battle of wits and I was running out of ideas.
One day I found that the bottom of the bird feeder had dropped, probably from a squirrel attack and all the bird seed fell to the ground. I drilled two holes and put screws with bolts to anchor the bottom plate.
Suddenly, one day, I thought of the perfect solution to the top being lifted by “my” squirrels. I would cut a plastic PVC pipe about 5 and 1/2 inches and slide it down the bird feeder hanging loop. I could easily remove that pipe when I needed to remove the lid and put more seed into the feeder.
The reason the pipe works is that the wire hanger comes out of the feeder at a much wider distance than the diameter of the pipe. When the squirrel tries to lift the feeder lid, the lid presses down because the lid can not go straight up because the wires are held close together by the pipe in the shape of an inverted Y. This PVC pipe system has worked for over six months now. I even removed the spring that holds the top lid down as I found that it was no longer needed and putting bird feed seeds into the top was much easier. The squirrels still try to lift the top lid to get to the seed at the top of the feeder but the wire and pipe combination is way too much for these little fur ball beasts to overcome. Finally, a humane being outsmarted a squirrel!
The Squirrrel-Be-Gone Wild Bird Feeder is not recommended unless you are willing to modify it. Now that I made improvements to my feeder, it is my favorite feeder.
Updated: 3-6-19, Squirrrel-Be-Gone Wild Bird Feeder (purchased at Home Depot) link removed because timeout error.