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Wily Squirrel Assaults Bird Feeders for Sunflower Seed Plunder

At least we wanted to feed the birds.

by Nancy Kerstetter

Our yard is now registered as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Newly hung bird feeders hold black oil sunflower seeds. Hummingbird feeders suspend in midair filled with homemade nectar in hopes of attracting the little feathered critters. Three bird baths are meticulously cleaned and filled daily.

Mesh bird feeder in tree

Mesh style bird feeder releases black oil sunflower seeds through small openings.

Guess who our first official customers are? Yes, squirrels.

Squirrel stretches in tree

Squirrel inspects newly placed bird feeder.


Round 1 with the squirrels begins when the open mesh feeder is hung conveniently close to the trunk of a small crepe myrtle in complete acknowledgement that squirrels could easily reach it. They do. While squirrels are welcome to some seed, they are not entitled to all of it so the feeder is moved.

Squirrel raids bird feeder

In Round 2, the mesh feeder is suspended mid air between trees but not reachable from any branches although probably within reach of squirrels. It is.

Squirrel stretches for bird feeder

In Round 3, the mesh feeder is placed on a longer wire suspended between the trees and probably not reachable by squirrels. Victory for the homeowner, the squirrels cannot reach it so they turn their attention to the tube feeder close by.

Mesh bird feeder extended

An additional length of wire may foil the squirrel trying to steal bird seed."


Round 4 involves the feeder that has weight-activated feeding ports that close when the feeder is mounted by any larger, heavier critter such as a squirrel. Naturally, the squirrel has to find this out through personal experience so he climbs aboard and probes a variety of gymnastic positions before conceding that this feeder holds seed but will not allow him to access it. As he finally clambers up into the tree, he mutters under his breath, “I’ll be back.”

Squirrel unsuccessfully trying bird feeder

No matter how the squirrel reconfigured his approach, he could not get seed from this feeder.

For more reading on backyard habitat, see our book review of My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover.

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