Bird feeders don’t require much hands-on maintenance on your part after being set up. Sure, they need filling every now and then and bring pretty species of birds to your doorstep that’ll catch your eye, but for the most part, feeders are like grammar, in that you don’t notice them until you find something is wrong.
Table of Contents
Sometimes that something wrong is a handful of squirrels running away with the precious seeds from your bird feeder, and sometimes you need to take precautions to stop those furry menaces.
Fortunately for you, we’re familiar with this problem and have prepared an arsenal of squirrel-proof feeder poles to help you fight back. We have chosen five of them, analyzed their pros and cons, and written up why we think they could be the right product to keep your bird feeders free of squirrels.
We have even gone as far as to include a buyers’ guide and a small FAQ where any additional information about bird feeder poles, and what makes a good squirrel-proof pole. If you’re curious, we recommend you give it a read so that the squirrels won’t catch you unaware in the future.
Got a squirrel problem right now? If your bird feeder won’t survive another squirrel raid, we have our favorite squirrel stopper right here. We liked the Kettle Moraine Squirrel Proof Decorative Bird Feeder since it not only looked good and would fit well within any neutrally decorated garden, but it had different variants for arm number that should have most of you and your gardens covered. See why we chose this pole over the others below:
Made from heavy-duty, durable, black powder-coated steel including the twelve-inch arms which make them sturdy and unable to sag.
Convenience in both transport and setup thanks to the fact it comes in three connecting pieces, the bottom of which has a twister socket so you can reliably screw it into the ground.
Comes in two, three or four-arm variants, all decorated and pleasant to look at.
Our number one bird feeder is one that combines utility and a bit of style, the Kettle Moraine Squirrel Proof Decorative Bird Feeder. As mentioned, this feeder pole is better to look at than most other hunks of steel fashioned into a 96-inch long, three-piece, tubular pole.
Being made from those three pieces allows for easy construction, and when constructed, the pole itself is heavy, durable steel coated with black powder to fit in in almost any garden.
At the top of the pole are sturdy arms, also made of steel and so unbendable (by any known bird, at least), which reach twelve inches from the pole itself. How many arms, you ask? This product gives you the choice between two, three and four-armed variants depending on the scale of your bird feeding operation, the number of arms being positively correlated with the price, of course. At the opposite end is a twenty-inch twister ground socket that allows you to screw the feeder into the ground for added stability.
PS: In the interest of frugality, we should mention that there is a cheaper, non-decorative version of this exact product available. We didn’t want to make it its own entry since the differences between the decorated and non-decorated versions are minimal, those differences being the decoration itself and the fact it’s a bit shorter. If the decorated variant is too tall for your liking or you’re just of the thrifty kind, you can find the undecorated one here.
Sturdy, unbending steel arms reach twelve inches from the pole center
Heavy-duty and durable black powder-coated steel construction
Comes in three pieces for ease of both transport and setup
Twister socket drives the pole twenty inches into the ground for stability
Comes in two-arm, three-arm and four-arm variants
Decorative bird feeders are pleasant to look at
Depending on your build, the full 96-inches of this feeder might be too high
Our second product is one for those of you who want a lot of space to hang feeders and other garden implements up and want them to be free of squirrel-kind. It’s the Yellowstone Old Faithful Bird Feeder by a manufacturer called Squirrel Stopper. With that name, you can rest assured that this product is made by people who had the same problem as you and decided to do something about it.
The Old Faithful has six hooks in total, most of the different sizes to one another so that it has some variability in the size of feeder, or flower basket, or other garden accessories you may wish to add. The versatility of this product’s hanging stations doesn’t end there, however, as the position of your hangers can be adjusted via thumbscrews.
The real secret to Squirrel Stopper’s, well, squirrel stoppers is that they use patented technology whereby the baffle uses springs in order to move up, down, and even sideways when a squirrel tries to scale it, ensuring that the bird seeds are safe from ground attack.
The feeder pole is also safe from environmental attacks too, being galvanized to reduce rusting. It’s made from threaded joints which make sure that windy weather doesn’t destabilize it. As with our number one choice, the Old Faithful is easily and stably put into the ground with an auger and twist mechanism.
Six adjustable hanging hook stations of various sizes for not just bird feeders, but baskets and other garden accessories
Reliable Squirrel Stopper baffle uses patented spring technology to adapt to squirrel’s attack strategies
Galvanized to stop rusting and the deterioration in the durability of the steel
Threaded joints make sure the pole stands steadfast against any disruptive weather
Easily installed via an auger and twist mechanism
Is very tall, even for people that are six-foot-tall
Some have found the instructions to be complicated
Next up is another Squirrel Stopper product, the Denali Squirrel Proof Mountain Pole System. This is a more versatile product being designed to house birdhouses but is able to accommodate large bird feeders or armed heads for the purposes of birds feeding if need be.
Since it’s designed to house birdhouses, it’s a durable pole that’s also galvanized to stand against the environmental conditions it’ll face. It also keeps the option open of having a birdhouse for if you start another feeding operation and wish to include a birdhouse.
It’s equipped with a heavy-duty ground auger to drive into the ground and ensure it stays, whilst the Squirrel Stopper baffle moves in all directions when met by squirrel weight. It works well for the most affordable squirrel proof feeder pole on this list.
Durable pole designed to hold heavy birdhouses and bird feeders thanks to its mounting flanges
Squirrel-proof baffle uses Squirrel Stopper tech to foil any squirrel attempts at mounting from the ground, moving side to side and up and down when triggered by the weight of the squirrel
Galvanized to fight rust
Equipped with a heavy-duty ground auger to anchor the pole
A versatile pole that can also house birdhouses if you later decide to make one
The Birds Choice 3 Arm Pole Package is a squirrel-proof bird feeder. We can’t say that much about it, since it’s your standard, quintessential baffled feeder, hence why it’s so far down this list. It lacks any of the bells and whistles from the previous products but does the job you need it to do, most of the time.
For that reason, we’d suggest it’s great for those on a budget or those who want a no-frills, no-fuss approach to thwarting squirrels. It has three arms, as the name suggests, and brings them to your garden for a lower price point than the three-armed variants of some of the other products above.
It’s also driven into the ground by a twister screw that measures twenty inches long, anchoring the pole into the ground for all the stability you could ask for. After you’ve set it up, the pole itself will reach sixty inches into the air. This isn’t the shortest we know of, but some have expressed concern that squirrels can jump past the baffle and reach the top anyway. Not everyone seems to have had this issue, so we think it may depend on the area, topography, and whether your garden happens to be hosting the high jump event for the squirrel Olympics.
Has three arms for a cheaper price point than other three-armed poles above
Is driven into the ground with a twenty-inch twister screw for maximum stability
After setup, the pole system will extend sixty inches above the ground
Is the cheapest squirrel-proof bird feeder pole
Too short, some squirrels can jump past the baffle
This last product is only last by virtue of the fact that it’s not actually a pole. Okay, hear us out, but we thought that if you’re in the market for some protection against marauding squirrels you may want to consider this option.
If you’re on a tight budget or have a pole that you’re not keen on replacing, why not get the Predator Guard Squirrel Guard Baffle? With this option you can bring your own pole to the equation and squirrel-proof it, saving you having to get a new one.
The baffle is wide at seventeen inches in diameter and is made with galvanized steel which has a slippery, no-grip surface so that squirrels who do grapple with it should slide off. We say should because some have had problems with the squirrels figuring the baffle out. Exactly how, we’re not sure, though many of the complaints seemed to be referring to a hanging feeder setup rather than a pole so we’d advise caution if that was what you had planned for this product.
Allows you to squirrel proof your pre-existing bird feeders, so you don’t have to get a whole new pole
It’s a wide seventeen inches in diameter and wraps around your pole
Made with galvanized steel so that it will not rust in wet weather
Has a slippery, no-grip surface to make squirrels slide off
Some have reported squirrels can outsmart this product
Is only the baffle, you should have your own pole lying around first
What to consider when buying squirrel-proof bird feeder poles
This small buyers’ guide will help you get to grips with what makes a good squirrel-proof feeder pole so that you can make better purchases in the future, and maybe learn a thing or two about the furry-tailed thieves plaguing your garden.
Know your enemy. This oft-repeated line came from Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu, so we think that if it works for defeating armies, it can probably work for outwitting a band of hungry squirrels in your garden.
So, what do you need to know? The main thing is the so-called rule of five, seven and nine which declares that the average squirrel can’t jump more than five feet up off the ground, more than seven feet across from a tree, and they get second thoughts about dropping about nine feet.
Hopefully, you won’t face any super-squirrels with unnatural stamina to overcome these distances. In all seriousness, you could have the best bird feeder since the invention of feeders, and it’ll be useless if you’ve parked it right next to an easily climbable tree. Your feeder setup will need to be somewhat isolated on all sides so that squirrels can’t climb adjacent structures and jump over to.
You may also want to consider the diet of squirrels. For example, squirrels don’t like some seeds, like safflower, which birds like cardinals and titmice enjoy. Using some of that in one feeder in a multi-feeder operation can help to reduce squirrels’ interest in your feeders as a whole. Birds and squirrels react to different tastes since mammalian animals tend to have more developed taste reception than avian.
You can exploit this by mixing peppers into the seeds, about a tablespoon per bag. Nothing too fancy either, cayenne will do just fine. The squirrels won’t be a fan of the seeds after this, but some claim that it can irritate birds’ eyes and so should be used with caution.
We’d say to use it sparingly to ward away squirrels as and when they cause problems. One last thing: you should keep a tray beneath your feeders since fallen seeds on the ground will attract squirrels, raccoons, and even rats.
Another thing is that you should appreciate how amazing squirrels are at climbing. Develop a healthy amount of respect for them, but don’t let that soften you up. As you may have noticed in the products above, the way you stop them from ascending the feeder pole is to put a thick baffle near the center.
It’s aimed to be too thick to get grabbed by the squirrels’ small arms and feet, and so climbing becomes an impossibility. Slipperiness and even fancy spring mechanisms as found in our second product are also a plus, to guarantee that even the best climbers can’t reach the top.
As for the poles themselves, any pole with an adequate baffle should do the trick but wooden and metal ones are easier to climb when compared to PVC or copper. Unfortunately, the latter can be more at mercy to the elements unlike steel, and with the right precautions, a steel feeder pole should do just fine. The baffles themselves have two main variants, the cylindrical one as seen in our first few products on the list, and an example of a cone one at number five.
If you’re not of the stubborn type, there is a way that might keep the squirrels off your back that’s somewhat unrelated to bird feeders. It involves making them their own feeder, which corn cob works well for. This might be a good option if you can swallow your pride and give the furry extortionists what they want.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just use a squirrel-proof feeder to deter squirrels?
Assuming that the feeder is a well-made one, absolutely! The only reason we recommend poles as an alternative to, or to be combined with, squirrel-proof feeders is that the feeders by themselves don’t stop the squirrels from getting onto the pole and loitering there, trying all their woodland tricks to try and break into your seed stash.
They can’t be reasoned with and won’t stop until your seeds are theirs. So, we think it’s better to keep them at least a bit further away by stopping them from getting to the feeder in the first place, especially since a loitering squirrel on the feeder can scare interested birds away.
How much damage can birds do to a feeder?
Ignoring the actual damage that can be done to feeders by squirrels clumsily (or willfully, who knows?) knocking your feeders off their hooks, the real damage is that squirrels can eat a fair amount of seeds. Squirrels weigh, on average, just one solitary pound, but they eat just as much in one week. This means that a pound of seeds, for each squirrel, could be stolen from the mouths of birds.
Depending on your stance on extending charity to squirrels, you may see this as money being wasted on your part. There’s also an argument to be made towards it being better than the squirrels don’t use your feeders, since they’re more than capable of foraging for themselves and they’re only doing it out of convenience, therefore not getting a varied diet to get all the nutrition they need.”
In conclusion, when it comes to bird feeders, squirrels are pests that need to be gently dissuaded by devices such as those above. It’s nothing personal. Hope you see the benefits of adding a squirrel proof bird feeder pole to your bird feeders.
[…] doubt about it, come to raid your feeder of as much as it can without any remorse. You could use a bird feeder pole which has a baffle to stop squirrels. This will make it difficult for your little pesky […]