We bought a new house and I was so excited to get some bird feeders set up in the yard like real adults do. I am no ornithologist, but I do like to watch birds. Its relaxing. I went to Home Depot and I picked out my very first feeder. Its so cute. I got a hummingbird feeder to match! Adorable. I get Larry to put the shepard’s hook in the ground for me. I hang my feeders. I am ready!
I fill up the feeder and an hour later it is empty! NO WAY! I fill it up again. An hour later it is empty again. I watch as two squirrels make a sport out of emptying the feeder of its contents. I immediately search online for ways to keep squirrels from bird feeders. There are so many different ideas. I am excited. This is great news.
First, I try cayenne pepper. I sprinkle it all over the ground and a little on the feeder. Supposedly squirrels hate cayenne pepper, but birds do not mind it. Next day, same thing, only this time there are now FOUR squirrels. We got out the bb gun and shot at them. NEVER actually hitting them but just scaring them off. This has little effect.
Next, I try peppermint oil. This is definitely the trick! According to the internet, squirrels hate mint. So, I take my bottle of essential oil out there and with a cotton ball I wipe the whole pole down. I sprinkle some on the ground too, for good measure. I am excited as I watch the now pack of SIX squirrels keeping their distance from the pole. I cannot believe I have finally found the cure!
Then, the next morning I get up to find the feeder emptied again. Apparently, the squirrels quickly got over their disdain for mint and are back at it again. It is now getting dire. The neighbors are giving me death looks out of their windows as I now have a heard of squirrels hanging out in my front yard.
In my research I find that there are certain bird feeders you can get that will keep the pests out. You can also put the pole away from the tree, but who wants their feeders in the middle of the lawn? Then I finally come across the answer that I have been looking for. I cannot believe it will work as I have been experimenting for a week. It is simple. No. It is not poisoning the squirrels.
The answer you have been looking for is safflower seeds! I bought a ten-pound bag from Tractor Supply for $20. The squirrels do not like it, but it attracts some wonderful birds. We have blue jays, mockingbirds, and cardinals. There are more too but as I mentioned I am not an ornithologist. The squirrels have since moved on. I will occasionally see one here and there playing in the trees and I am okay with that.