Last Updated on July 18, 2021 by Nancie
Squirrels not only eat seed from bird feeders, but squirrels also scare birds away. So even if you have a weight-activated “squirrel-proof feeder”, you might still want to baffle it to keep squirrels from jumping on it and frightening birds away.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Why Baffle a Squirrel Buster Feeder?
I bought my first of two Squirrel Buster Plus feeders (Brome Bird Feeders on Amazon) years ago. It is a pricey feeder even if you can get it on sale, which I did. But I reasoned that if I could keep squirrels out of the sunflower hearts, I’d easily make back my investment in savings on birdseed. It worked. But while these feeders don’t technically need baffles to keep squirrels out of the seed, I still added one over each one. Here’s why.
The cool thing about the Squirrel Buster line of feeders is that as long as you follow the placement advice that comes with the feeder, squirrels are defeated. This mostly means that you need to allow 18″ clearance all around. Mine are hung from tree limbs using long hooks. They are placed out of reach of other branches squirrels could hang from to reach the feeder’s side without tripping the mechanism.
It works by an adjustable weight-activated mechanism. You set the weight. Then when something heavier puts their weight on the perches, the feeder’s outer sleeve slides down. This covers the food access ports. The squirrel can sit there, but they can’t get to the food. (For more on this feeder, check out my Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder Review.)
Squirrels on a Closed Feeder Still Scare Birds Away
Squirrels initially left the Squirrel Buster feeders completely alone. I never even saw a squirrel seriously try them . . . until the weather turned really cold. Then for week or so, squirrels began an all-out assault on all of the feeders, even these. Despite a lot of effort, they never succeeded in breaching these feeders.
But they started climbing down the shepherd’s hook to get on the feeder. (This is a pretty awesome skill when you consider how thin, curved and slippery as these poles seem.) All that squirrel activity on the feeder kept frightening birds away.
Adding a Baffle to Stop Squirrels From Scaring Birds
I went to my local bird store (Mother Natures in Columbia) and talked with one of the knowledgeable women who work there about baffles. She assured me that these feeders have a lifetime guarantee. Brome will repair any structural damage a squirrel might inflict. She felt that the only reason to need a baffle is if you are bothered by cosmetic damage that might result in the squirrel’s efforts to get into the feeder, as that isn’t covered.
I thought about it, but I really wanted to discourage squirrels from hanging on the feeder at all and spooking the birds. And it seems wasteful to have to replace parts, even if it doesn’t cost me anything personally, if there is a way to avoid damage in the first place.
So I purchased a large metal baffle (Erva galvanized steel) that reminds me of a green metal parasol. Squirrels can’t chew through the metal and its extra wide size keeps them off of the feeder hanging below it. (If you need to choose a hanging baffle, see my post on Best Hanging Squirrel Baffle.)
This first baffle worked so well that so I purchased a second one for my other Squirrel Buster feeder. The two Squirrel Buster Plus feeders with their Erva baffles still hang on the same tree limbs years later. The squirrels never have found a way into the seed. Each year at least one of the new crop of young squirrels will give it a try, but can never get past the baffle. Mostly the squirrels have given up and have to make due with eating spilled seed off the ground. (Check out one squirrel’s futile attempt in the pictures below.)
For more on squirrels and feeders, also see my post on Solving Squirrel Bird Feeder Problems.
More Posts on Feeder Placement
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