Skip to main content

These easy DIY squirrel-proof bird feeders for your garden will keep unwanted visitors out

How to make your bird feeder squirrel-proof

Setting out bird feeders to support your local birds is a great way to improve the health of your garden. Other animals enjoy bird feeders too, especially squirrels. We can’t exactly blame them — squirrels eat many of the same things birds do, and your yard is their home as much as it is the birds'. If they’re not leaving enough for the birds, or if they’re getting too close to your home for your liking, then here’s how to make squirrel-proof bird feeders.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

1 hour

What You Need

  • Thin wire, clothesline, or string

  • Scissors or knife

  • Plastic bottles

  • Flexible metal or plastic, metal bowl, or large plastic bottle

  • Bracket, clamp, zip ties, or nail

  • Slinky

A small blue bird feeder hanging from a thin wire
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Suspending your bird feeder

Here’s how to make a suspended bird feeder that squirrels can’t reach:

Step 1: Hang a thin wire or clothesline between two trees or poles.

Step 2: Suspend the bird feeder in the middle.

Step 3: Cut the bottoms off of several plastic bottles.

Step 4: String the bottles onto the wire on either side of the bird feeder.

The bottles will roll as squirrels try to walk across them, but birds will have no trouble flying to the bird feeder.

A squirrel eating from a bird feeder
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Creating a baffle

If you already have a standing bird feeder, a conical baffle will keep squirrels away. Here’s how to make your own:

Step 1: Roll a sheet of flexible metal or plastic in a cone with a hole at the top.

The hole should be the width of the feeder pole. Instead of rolling your own, you can also cut a hole in the bottom of a metal bowl or large plastic bottle.

Step 2: Create a small ledge on the pole, at least 5 feet off the ground.

Depending on the material your bird feeder pole is made of, this ledge can be made by attaching a bracket or clamp to the pole, tying zip ties around it, or in the case of a wooden pole, nailing a nail partially into the pole. This ledge will hold the baffle up, so it doesn’t slide to the bottom of the pole. You can choose to attach your baffle directly to the pole, but this will make it more difficult to remove or replace the baffle as needed.

Step 3: Slide the cone down the pole of the bird feeder, so the point is facing upward and the bottom is flared around the pole.

A squirrel climbing the pole of a bird feeder
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Using a slinky

For a quick fix, here’s how to make a squirrel-proof bird feeder with a slinky:

Step 1: Attach a hook or clip to the top of the bird feeder pole.

Step 2: Tie or clip the top of the slinky to the hook or clip.

When the squirrel climbs up and hits the slinky, it will extend, lowering the squirrel back to the ground.

Squirrels eating from a bird feeder aren’t always an issue, but if the ones in your yard are a nuisance then these squirrel-proof bird feeders can help. These techniques can even help keep other animals out, such as raccoons or cats. If the squirrels aren’t causing other issues, though, you might want to consider just refilling your bird feeders more often or setting out extra feeders. Squirrels are native wildlife, too!

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
What’s a French drain? A fantastic way to rid your garden of excess water
Build your own French drain with these tips
A person digging into grass with a garden fork

All plants need some amount of water, but they also all have a limit. Too much water can be even worse than too little water in some cases. During rainy weather, if water is pooling in parts of your garden it could spell disaster for your plants. Luckily, there are ways to drain the extra water away from your garden and direct it elsewhere. This simple guide to French drains will explain everything you need to know to answer the question, "What is a French drain?" and to learn about installation and maintenance.
What is a French drain?

As the name implies, a French drain is a type of drainage system. Think of it as a reverse irrigation channel; rather than carrying water to thirsty plants, it takes water away from drowning ones. The system itself is fairly simple. You put a pipe in a trench, which slopes away from the garden toward a storm drain, drainage ditch, or rain barrel.

Read more
Incorporate the hortifuturism trend into your space for an out-of-this-world garden
Get inspired by these futuristic garden ideas
Alien eggs succulent

The traditional image of a garden is usually a romantic one characterized by lush, dainty flowers and whimsical decor pieces fashioned after woodland creatures. But what if you’re into a look that’s sleeker and more futuristic? Enter hortifuturism, which is a 2024 gardening trend that takes inspiration from science-fiction. 

There are many ways to implement the hortifuturism trend, whether you’re partial to an indoor hydroponic setup, an enclosed terrarium, or a full-blown night garden. Read on for more out-of-this-world, tech-forward garden ideas. 
What is the hortifuturism trend?

Read more
What should you do if you find a snake in your garden?
If you run into a slithering intruder while gardening, here’s what to do
Brown and black snake near some purple flowers

Outdoor gardens are bound to have outdoor creatures in them from time to time, but not all creatures are popular. While you might be delighted to see a bird or bunny in your garden (or feel distraught, if they’re eating your plants), many gardeners would be less excited to see a spider or snake. Snakes have an important role in our ecosystem, and they can even benefit your garden, but you might still wonder what exactly you should do if you see one. We’ll answer all your questions, so you’ll know what to do if you see a slithering intruder in your garden.
What to do if you see a snake

If you see a snake in your garden (or anywhere else), do not approach it. It’s easy to misidentify snakes, especially if they're moving quickly or partially hidden by plants, and even non-venomous snakes will bite if they feel threatened. Keep pets or children away from the area as well. In most cases, you can simply wait for the snake to leave with no further action.

Read more