How to feed the birds not the squirrels (not to expensively either)

I've been thinking of feeding garden birds for a couple of months now, and have bought feeders, seeds, feeding stations etc. but we have a serious problem with squirrels, even when there aren't feeders there are regularly 2-4 squirrels in the garden, it don't think it helps that we have an oak tree either. I was wondering if anyone had a budget friendly way of protecting the seed from the squirrels as my older brother used to have a feeder out and attracted many birds, including a great spotted woodpecker.

We some trees on one end of the garden (a small oak, an old plum, and a good sized fir tree) plus a bush which runs all the way along one side of the garden. However there is also a trampoline near the trees, and the garden is often in use in the summer, and is open so would that scare the birds away?

Thanks for the help in advance and hope that someone will be able to give me some ideas

Regards

Benji

  • I have seen photos on this forum of people using a dome (like this one). That seems to work, although I haven't tried it.

    There are also guardian cages of various sizes and prices for feeders (like these - obviously there are other suppliers). They are good for feeding small birds and some (but not all) will keep out squirrels too but I don't know whether a GSW can get into these cages.

  • We live in a very squirrel-rich environment, too, and when we first moved to our current house, the squirrels soon moved in on the bird feeders. We put up a squirrel feeder, some distance away from the bird feeders. They very quickly learned how to use it, and lost interest in the bird food. I think it also helps that the bird feeders are "squirrel proof" (though I doubt if anything really is!) so it's more hassle for them to try.

    Most things will follow the path of least resistance.

    As a bonus, the squirrels look very entertaining when they're using the feeder. We came to the conclusion that they were going to be in the garden, no matter what; they were going to be feeding, no matter what - and it was our choice whether they took the bird food or we supplied squirrel food.
  • In reply to Nutbrownhare:

    Nutbrownhare said:
    no matter what

    Interesting.

    We came to the same conclusion. And installed two squirrel feeding stations, which they're still learning to use (went up a bit late).

    Dave 

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Some of them really are faster learners than others, the smaller ones catching on more quickly. There's a large male who kept trying to lift up the lid of the feeder whilst still standing on it (my partner commented that it reminded him of his dad!) and it took him several days to suss it out.
  • In reply to Nutbrownhare:

    Nutbrownhare said:
    There's a large male who kept trying to lift up the lid of the feeder whilst still standing on it

    I do the same myself these days; I think it's age...

    Our feeders went up a little late in the season. The reds (we only have reds) had stripped most of the food off the trees, and were far less present than in the autumn.

    We're hoping that they'll catch on in Spring, and will then be set up for next winter.

  • Thanks for replying everyone
    Does anyone know where I can get a not-to-expensive squirrel feeder - and the best food to put in it?

    Regards

    Benji

  • In reply to BenjiS:

    If you do a Google search for 'cheap squirrel feeder' all sorts of options come up.

    I've found they like peanuts, but there are other choices: www.rspca.org.uk/.../feeding
  • We have a similar problem here, and use the lampshade dome mentioned in the first reply.

    With a  big BUT!

    The feeding station needs to be at least 2mtrs away from fences, hedges, trees or any other squirrel access point, or you will still loose the battle. I had one that leapt almost 3 mtrs to get to the feeding station!

    See the short videos on the two links below...

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/peak-rambler/51669794212/in/album-72157720097617293/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/peak-rambler/51670833138/in/album-72157720097617293/

    That gap the squirrel leaped was 2.8 mtrs. However, after that day, we have only had two squirrels, not three, so my guess that leap must have hurt.....

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Mike B:

    Loving those videos - thanks for sharing!
  • In reply to Nutbrownhare:

    Nutbrownhare said:
    Loving those videos - thanks for sharing!

    You're welcome.

    I bet hearing that thud from the squirrel as it landed belly on the feeding station, seeing those protruding metal parts sent a shiver down your spine, the accuracy and force was incredible.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler