Some Pointers on Using Squirrel Baffles Properly

  • What is a squirrel baffle, and how does it work?
    Generally speaking, a squirrel baffle is a contraption or device that is used to prevent squirrels from climbing up a bird feeder pole or jumping directly onto a bird feeder from the ground below. Baffles are generally classified into two types: directional and asymmetrical.

    The first type of squirrel baffle is designed to wrap around your bird feeder pole and be installed underneath the feeders. They are typically made of metal or plastic, and they are available in one of two configurations. A squirrel baffle with a wraparound design may resemble a cone, which I believe is reminiscent of the plastic cones that dogs wear after surgery! The other style resembles a long cylinder tube that fits around your bird feeder pole and makes it impossible for squirrels to get a hold of it and climb up to the feeder. It looks like an inverted bowl, and it hangs ABOVE your bird feeders. The second type of squirrel guard is similar in appearance. If squirrels attempt to launch an aerial attack, the hope is that they will collide with the hanging baffle and fall harmlessly to the ground beneath them. An added bonus is the amusement provided by watching squirrels jump and try to hang on to one of these baffles!

    Using Squirrel Baffles: Some Pointers
    Squirrel baffles that are mounted on posts
    1. Choose a location that is at least 7 to 8 feet away from any structure that a squirrel could climb up and jump over, such as garden walls, sheds, stumps, deck railings, or other similar structures. 2. If your squirrels have a “Plan B,” even the best baffle in the world will not keep them from escaping!
    2. Make certain that the squirrel baffle is mounted on the pole so that the top of the baffle is at least 4 feet above the ground, preferably directly under the feeder.
    3) If your feeder is suspended from a shepherd's crook pole, position the baffle so that it is 4 feet above the ground but not so high that the squirrels can jump from the pole underneath the baffle to the feeder.

    Baffles for Squirrels that Hang from the Ceiling
    1. Choose a branch that is high enough so that the bottom of the feeder is at least 4 feet above the ground and long enough to allow the feeder to be placed 7 to 8 feet away from the tree's trunk.
    Using a branch hook or chain at least 18” – 24” in length, suspend the baffle and suspend the feeder underneath it. Unless otherwise stated, all squirrel baffles sold by the Wild Bird Habitat Store are guaranteed to work if they are installed properly.

    Where should I place my squirrel baffle in relation to the ground?
    Squirrels are much more agile than you might imagine. The type of squirrel that is native to your area will determine how high they can jump, but a good rule of thumb is that you should place your baffles on your bird feeder pole at least FOUR feet above the ground. In addition, squirrels can jump approximately 10 feet horizontally from a tree or other launching pad, depending on the species. Please keep this in mind as you are putting up your bird feeder pole.

    What other strategies can I employ to keep squirrels at bay?!?!?!
    The most common problem that backyard birders encounter is preventing squirrels from climbing onto their bird feeders and consuming all of their food supplies. On the subject, there have even been entire books written about it. However, reading a post that I wrote that details seven different strategies to keep squirrels away would be a great place to start.

    Is it permissible to use grease or glue on my pole to deter squirrels?
    No, I'm serious. Nothing should be placed on the pole. A high probability of death exists if squirrels get glue or grease on their fur. Furthermore, because squirrels live in the moment, they are unlikely to recall that there is a sticky substance on the pole and will simply jump back on the greasy pole the next day.