We have an amazing assortment of birds who come to our backyard and porch feeders. I keep a list going in my bird guide and to date we have seen over 30 species in our yard! Unfortunately we also have a few four-legged, furry varmints who try to horn in on the goodies. We’ve had good results with three different types of “squirrel proof” seed feeders. As ever, my opinions are my own – I receive no compensation or perks for any of my product reviews.
- Woodlink Absolute II Squirrel Proof Feeder: This big boy holds over a gallon of seed and is pretty much squirrel proof. The perch bars are spring-loaded so anything heavier than a bird pressing on them lowers doors over the seed trays. The occasional smartyboots realizes he can lay flat on top and streeeeetch down and around to get his paws on a few seeds. But for the most part the tree rats are thwarted. Deer however, are another problem. They just stroll up and lick the seed out of the tray. Deer don’t like walking through tall bushes or grasses (I guess they are afraid a predator could be hiding in there) so we situate the feeder in the midst of perennials they don’t like, and that cuts down considerably on deer feeding.
- Brome Squirrel Buster Classic: This large hanging feeder is awesome! It holds about 1.5 quarts of seed so we don’t need to refill it every day, it vents the seed tubes to keep the seed safe to eat, and the design keeps the vermin away. The outer metal cage is spring-loaded so if anything heavier than a bird lands on it or hangs on one of the perches, the cage slides down and closes over the seed cups. I’ve watched squirrels jump on it and boo hoo, no seed for you!
- Brome Squirrel Buster Mini: This is the first Brome feeder we bought and it also works great. It too is spring-loaded so anything heavier than a bird drags down the outer cage and closes the seed cups. The only drawback is its size – it only holds 3 cups of seed, so we were filling it daily, sometimes twice daily.
We also like to offer suet to the birds year ’round. At first the squirrels and the resident ‘coon ate us out of house and home, but then we discovered suet made with Cayenne Pepper. This kind costs a few cents more so shop around for the best price (our local Ace Hardware consistently has the best price, and sometimes I even catch a sale). Mammals hate its spicy taste, but birds do not have any pain receptors for capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot) so they couldn’t care less about it.
We soon discovered, however, another type of “undesirable” at the suet feeders: birds that are not true suet eaters! Finches, cowbirds, thrashers and others sat at the suet cakes and tore them apart to get at the seeds inside, scattering most of the suet on the ground. We were going through 3 or 4 of these pricey suet cakes a week, so it was very annoying to see so much waste.
While we were at our local Ace stocking up on black sunflower seeds and suet cakes we spied a funky looking suet feeder, the Songbird Essentials Recycled Upside Down Suet Feeder. As you can see this feeder is a little recycled plastic house with access to the suet only on the bottom. We could not imagine how a bird was going to flip upside down mid flight to get at the suet, so we read some reviews and other users swore the birds quickly figure it out. Indeed they do. Only true suet eaters are capable of or “like” feeding upside down, so this feeder perfectly suits the birds you want at the suet feeder – woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, bluebirds and the like. As a bonus, the squirrels can’t get at it either, so we can forgo the extra expense of the hot pepper suet! We are now going through about a third of the suet cakes we used to, so this baby paid for itself in about 3 weeks. Win, win, win! Here’s a few of the beauties who now have exclusive use of the suet feeder: