Last updated on June 29th, 2022
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Don’t get me wrong, I really love to see squirrels in my garden and we have 2 regular visitors but the wife is really into feeding the birds and the squirrels were really becoming a problem. Not only do they eat the food but they also cause significant damage to the feeders. I’ve even set up this UsoGood garden trail camera to see what birds we get on the feeders and it’s amazing the variety of birds I now get in my garden.
Back to squirrel proof bird feeders. I actually managed to catch a failed attempt at getting any bird seed out of the feeder thanks to this Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. Check out this short clip below!
As you can see in my first picture above the video, I had previously used standard bird feeders and we had two regular squirrels visit our garden everyday, several times a day. They would make light work of the bird seed so we had to do something about it as there was nothing left for the birds. This is why I started testing several different squirrel proof bird feeders plus I get to share them with you here and it was an opportunity to get some good video for my trail camera reviews.
Now, I didn’t go for the cheapest as I know they would just chew through the wire and I had seen what they had down to my mums surposably squirrel proof feeders in her garden and I wanted feeders that would last. To get straight to the point, the two feeders that have really impressed me are this Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder with its innovative wait based design which works amazingly well and this Peckish Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder. As you can see in the picture below, both these feeders are extremely good quality, made using decent thick grade steel. These two models have both really proved valuable and the peanut feeder was even under 20 quid when I purchased my off Amazon.
One of the other issues I had was with pigeons, magpies and jackdaws also emptying the feeders. The pigeons cannot access any of the feeders now but they don’t half clean up after the other birds that drop half of the seed on the floor, so thats not too bad. When it comes to the magpies and jackdaws, it’s another story so thats still a work in progress but as for the squirrels, they’ve been unable to get any birdseed or peanuts out of the feeders and have now stopped even trying. They tend to just scrat around the bottom of the feeder and usder the water drink bowl.
Best for Peanuts
These are my top squirrel-proof bird feeders:
- Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder– MY BEST PICK
- Peckish 60051234 Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder – BEST PEANUT FEEDER
- Gardman A01820 Heavy Duty Squirrel-Proof Seed Bird Feeder
- Roam wild Pestoff Squirrel-Proof Wild Bird Feeder
Best Squirrel proof Bird Feeders Reviews
1. Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
This Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder – the Squirrel Buster – is one of a series of similar bird feeders from this manufacturer and this model is the one I have been testing over the last 12 months. I’ve got to say, I’ve been really impressed with everything about it. What a extremly well made and innovative piece of kit.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘calm down John it’s a bird feeder’ but really, it’s very well designed and the build quality is unmatched by most models I’ve had. They literally thought of everything in the design. What you got to understand is, with some of the models I have used, they have literally bitten through the steel cage, managed to open lids and credit where credits due, squirrels are crafty little things.
This particular model deters squirrels and pigeons and it’s supposed to deter other large birds by using a weight sensitive mechanism. You can also set the maximum weight of the birds you’re willing to feed to so it is adjustable so some of the larger song birds can still feed while larger birds can’t.
You can see below in the two pictures, the first picture is with the hatches open as I have applied no weight to the perch or any part of the feeder.
Once you add weight to the perch (or any other part of the outside of the feeder) as shown below using my finger, and it doesnt take a lot. This then closes the hatch and you can no longer access the feed hopper. So when a squirrel climbs onto the feeder the hatch closes and it can’t access the bird seed. So it doesn’t matter how or where the squirrels climb onto the feeder, from the bottom, top or the side, the feeder hatches close instantly.
Now, this design works really well for squirrels and is much better than the similar models where they have to actually put weight on the perch to close the hatches off. With these models, squirrels quickly work out how to take the feed without touching the perches by dangling down from the top of the feeder with their back legs. Not with this feeder though, the hatches still close even if they don’t touch the perches.
As already mentioned, it’s worked very well for squirrels, as of yet they have never been able to get to the seed. They’ve had a good go and not managed to access the feed and the pigeons can’t either. They have also not managed to damage the feeder either even though they gave it a good go with those teeth. It’s just too well made.
However, the magpies and jackdaws, in particular, have learned to hover while just touching the perches and then getting some of the seed out. I haven’t managed to take a photo of this happening with this specific feeder but I did with another very similar feeder I was testing that works in the same way by Tom Chambers.
Now, one of the features, this bird feeder has that other similar feeders don’t have including the Tom Chambers feeder is that it has long tube on top of the feeder as shown above. It doesn’t look like much but I can tell you that makes all the difference from what I have seen and is very effective.
With some models, the squirrels have been able to hold on to the top of the hanger where the feeder hangs on. The squirrels learnt to hang with their back legs and then stretch down and eat the seed without putting weight on the feeder or perches that close the hatches. By having the tube on top of the feeder, they have not been able to do that with this feeder.
The body of this bird feeder is made of a green rust proof steel mesh that has small grid openings in it, again its been out in all weathers and no signs of any rust. The bird seed is held inside a clear plastic cylinder in this metal tube which keeps the seed dry which is a design I like as it means the seed stays dry. The seed capacity is around 0.5kg which I think is about right although there is bigger alternatives but there to long for a standard food stand like I use. To give you an idea, the height of the feeder including the slim pipe is 53cm tall but the actual feeder is only 28cm tall (the main bit that holds the seed). Width wise, its about 9-10cm wide.
You fill the feeder by sliding the long tube and wire hook off the top of the feeder and then the metal outer section with the perches slides off the top of the feeder as you can see in the picture above and you can pour the seed into the clear plastic tube. Nice and simple! no nuts or screws to worry about here.
Being spring-loaded, the perches are triggered when anything heavier than a small bird sits or pulls on them. A heavier weight causes the doors over the feed portals to close, and stay closed. When the heavy bird or squirrel leaves the perch, the doors open and the seed is accessible again.
Finally, you can alter the weight needed to trigger the hatches to close, I have it set on the most sensitive but this is easily altered by turning the grey tube on top of the feeder as shown in the picture above. This simply loosens or tightens the spring you cann see in the feeder that controls the sensitivity of the hatches.
- Green metal mesh bird feeder with a domed roof and four perches.
- Hanging loop is attached through a green pipe to the feeder.
- Weight of a squirrel/large bird automatically closes portals of the feeder.
- Weight adjustable so you can choose the maximum weight of birds that can feed here.
- Easy assembly that doesn’t need tools.
- Holds 0.5kg of seed.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Dimensions: 47cm (diameter); 55cm (to top of lid); and 47cm (hanging part)
- Not really found a problem with this feeder, if I’m being picky its perhaps a little tall at 53cm tall including the slim pipe at the top.
I’ve been using this squirrel proof bird feeder for around 12 months and the squirrels have had a good go at getting into it, they chewed it, tried to hang from it, try as they might, it had successfully kept them at bay up to now. They have mostly given up as they seem to have realised they can’t get anything from it and tend to sit underneath it waiting to eat when the small birds have dropped.
Overall, I would say it’s been a huge success, the only thing it doesn’t stop is the magpies and jackdaws that have learnt to hover to take the food that way which is pretty clever. However, they only seem to be able to do this in short bursts and hover for a few seconds.
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2. Peckish 60051234 Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder
Best for Peanuts
This Peckish 60051234 Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder caters for those birds who prefer eating peanuts to seeds and in my garden thats seems to be the blue tits and coal tits and the occassional starling.
Where this model really stands out compared to another models that use the cage design including the Ossian Bird Feeder which I also have, is the quality of the overall feeder and the materials used. The steel wire cage surrounding the bird seed cylinder wire cage, must be twice the diameter of most other models and its a good heavy duty piece if kit.
This squirrel-proof bird feeder is made of metal grid in an attractive lantern shape. With the decorative leaf pattern on the lid and the antique finish, it’s a functional piece of garden décor and its looks the parts.
It works by having a large grid spacing in the outer cage that lets small birds come into the feeder but keeps out squirrels, magpies, pigeons and other large birds and it does work well too. To give you some measurements, the space between the inner and outer cage is around 6cm and this seems to be enough to stop the squirrels and larger birds getting there head through the cage and reaching the inner case with the oeanuts in.
So where I have found the design to be much better than other very similar models is that instead if having a simple lids that pops off with some brackets which squirrels cann usually open. With this feeder, you place the larger cage over the feeder and then it screws into place nice and tight. There is no way a squirrel is getting it open and yet its still so easy to open and refill. Sometimes, it can be a little tight but then that makes it even more secure.
You are limited to using peanuts with this bird feeder as the mesh spacing in the feed tube is too large to keep seeds in but then it is sold as a peanut feeder. With a 0.5kg capacity, you may need to refill the tube every few days if you have hungry guests like I do.
Also available from the same manufacturer is a squirrel-proof bird seed feeder but I’ve not tested the seed version but it looks promising with the same design.
- Metal grid bird feeder in the shape of a lantern.
- Decorative leaf design in a verdigris finish on the screw top lid.
- Large holes in the grid for the birds to pass through.
- The feeder tube is stainless steel mesh, though with smaller holes.
- Designed for peanuts.
- Easily remove feeder tube through the base of the feeder.
- Holds 0.5kg of peanuts.
- Difficult to unscrew and fill.
This Peckish Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder is my selection of the Best squirrel-proof bird feeder for for peanuts. I really like the design in the way you open the feeder but unscrewing the cage and lid together as there one piece rather than having a standard lid that just clips shut like most other models. The actual build quality is something than stands out with the heavier steel cage wire. Overall, I think they took a common design that works (a large cage around a feeder) but have made a premium quality version and improved the way it open to make it more secure. If you need a squirrel proof bird feeder for peanuts, I recommend this model, I’ve been really please with it.
3. Gardman A01820 Heavy Duty Squirrel-Proof Seed Bird Feeder
This Gardman A01820 Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Seed Bird Feeder is a polished aluminium cylinder frame inside which is a clear plastic feed tube. The aluminium frame is light and airy and won’t rust. Small birds can get at the bird seed by hopping through the gaps in the frame and sitting on perches coming out from the feed tube portals. Squirrels (and large birds) aren’t able to squeeze through the gaps in the frame, leaving all the food for the birds that can.
The lid on the top of the structure unscrews so that you can pour the bird feed into the feed tube. Just make sure that the level of the food is above the different levels of the portals and all your visiting birds will be happy. Pigeons and squirrels hanging on the outside of the aluminium cage can see the food but can’t reach in to get it.
Up to four birds can feast at the same time. Each of the four portals in the feed tube has its own perch for the bird to sit on. However, there’s room inside the structure for additional birds to enter and sit on the grid floor waiting for their turn to eat.
You may want to make this squirrel-proof bird feeder even more secure by wiring the lid shut when you don’t need to remove it. Some online reviewers report that their remarkably smart squirrels learned how to twist off the lid to the feed tube and to get at the bird seed from above. This is a quick and easy fix, and the potential problem isn’t a deal breaker.
Another version of this bird feeder holds peanut pieces instead of seed and another one holds suet balls. You can put out the type of food that each species of bird prefers.
- Hanging, cylindrical grid feeder made from cast polished aluminium.
- Grid and clear plastic feed tube are suitable for bird seed.
- Birds perch on the wires making up the grid and enter through the holes in the grid.
- Four portals in the feed tube with four perches.
- Holds 0.5kg of seed.
- Hanging handle on the top of the feeder.
- Easy to clean.
- One-year guarantee.
- Dimensions: 24cm (diameter); 20cm (height); and 31cm (to top of handle).
- Seed spills from the bottom of the feeder onto the ground.
- Design of lid is not very secure.
The Gardman A01820 Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Seed Bird Feeder is a simple and open structure that lets you view the birds that come to the feeder. The clear plastic feed tube lets you see how much seed is in it for the birds that come in through the open parts of the grid. Squirrels and larger birds such as pigeons can’t squeeze in.
The Gardman A01820 Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Seed Bird Feeder is a good choice of squirrel-proof bird feeder if you like to sit and watch the birds.
4. Roamwild Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
The Roamwild Pestoff Squirrel-Proof Wild Bird Feeder has a green plastic top and bottom around a long, clear plastic feed tube. It’s easy to fill – the top just snaps off and you can pour 1.5L of bird seed and sunflower hearts into the tube for the birds to snack on. This Roamwild bird feeder is ready to go straight from the box. Just fill it with seed and hang it up.
The mechanism of this Pestoff bird feeder works off springs. Each of the two feeding perches operates on a spring mechanism. The perches are weight sensitive. If a squirrel or large bird lands on them, the weight of the animal/bird causes the feed portal to close, making the seed inaccessible. However, if a small bird alights there, a light weight registers and the spring opens the portal. No matter how long the squirrel sits on the perch, it can’t get to the bird seed.
And don’t worry about large birds or squirrels being able to get through the exposed clear feed tube. It’s made of the same UV stable and tough plastic as riot shields. If the squirrels do get through, you have a much larger problem.
I like the sloped shape of the lid/roof. It’s thoughtfully designed to act as a rain guard and stop water from getting through the portals into the seed. Damp seed is not tasty for the birds and is difficult for you to clean up. The base part of the bird feeder also has another sloped roof to keep the rain directly off the birds. Not only does this unit provide a meal for your feathered visitors, it also provides a safe and dry place to eat.
- Long cylindrical bird feeder with clear UV-stable plastic tube and two feeding stations at the bottom.
- Entire bird feeder is pest-proof as well as squirrel-proof.
- Lid and base are made from shiny and shaped green plastic.
- Holds 1.5L of bird feed.
- Two perches are spring loaded to let only small birds feed.
- Rain guard above the seed ports keeps the bird and the seed dry.
- Easy to fill and take apart to clean.
- Arched hanger handle at the top ensures stability when hung up.
- Comes with Roamwild PestOff Warranty.
- Dimensions: 15cm (diameter); 45cm (height to top of roof).
- Seed falls to the ground easily.
I like the simplicity and the large capacity of the Roamwild Pestoff Squirrel-Proof Wild Bird Feeder. There’s also the thoughtfulness of design with a rain guard roof and another rain guard directly over the two perches. The weight of large birds and animals, including squirrels, on the perches causes the feed portals to close, and stay closed until the weight goes away.
The Roamwild Pestoff Squirrel-Proof Wild Bird Feeder is a good choice if most of your feathered visitors are small and medium sized birds.
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Buyer’s Guide for squirrel-proof bird feeders
Squirrels seem determined to get into the quick, easy and tasty food in the bird feeders in the garden. And they often are able to do this. The anti-squirrel bird feeders in this review are designed to keep squirrels out in various ways. This Buyer’s Guide goes over the features to look for when deciding which is the best squirrel-proof bird feeder for your garden.
How the squirrels are kept out
The selection of bird feeders in this review shows that there’s basically two ways to keep the squirrels (and large birds) out of the bird feeder.
The first way is to make an outer cage of metal grid or mesh. The size of the gaps between the mesh in this structure determines the size of the bird or creature that can hop through into the bird feeder. Inside the cage is a feed tube, often mesh, that holds the bird seeds, nuts or fruit. The gaps are too small for squirrels and large birds to enter.
In this style of anti-squirrel bird feeder, there’s only a feed tube, again often plastic. The perches for the birds are on the outside of the tube, usually at the base. The seed is available through the portals above the perches. The spring mechanism is sensitive to weight and closes the gate to the portal when a heavy weight, e.g. a squirrel, is detected on the perch. When the weight is removed or replaced by a light weight, i.e. a small bird, the portal opens and the seed is once more available.
The best spring-loaded perch bird feeders let you adjust the maximum weight that keeps the portal open. You can choose to let medium size (and weight) birds eat at your feeder by increasing the weight that closes the portal gates.
Other design features to consider
Distance between the outer cage and inner tube
In the metal grid style of bird feeder, the distance between the outer cage and the inner feed tube is important. It’s no use keeping out squirrels if they can cling to the outside of the cage and reach in and grab the seeds from the tube. Make sure that the space between the outer cage and the inner tube is far enough that squirrel arms and pigeon beaks can’t reach that far. I have found that a gap of around 6cm is enough.
The design of the lid on one of the models in this review, Roamwild Pestoff Squirrel-Proof Wild Bird Feeder, offers rain protection for the birds and portals underneath it. It additionally has extra rain protection just above where the birds sit on the perches. This is not just a nice thing to do for the birds although I don’t think they care; it keeps the seeds dry which I know they would appeciate. Wet seeds are unappetising for the birds but are also a pain for you to clean out of the feed tube. Everyone wins with this style.
Type and capacity of feed tube
Do most of your feathered visitors eat seeds? Nuts? Fruit? Or even peanuts? The material and design of the feed tube determines what food you can offer your guests. Suet balls, for example, need a different feeder than Niger seeds or seed blends. Peanuts get their own feeder style as well. Choose the appropriate one for what your birds need.
And as for capacity, how many birds are you anticipating to visit and how hungry are they? Of course, this is something that you work out over time. But you need to make a rough guess when choosing the feeder with a useful capacity. You don’t want one so small that you need to refill it every day. On the other hand, you don’t want a super large one in which the seeds will go off before your few birds finish them.
Never underestimate the sneakiness and learning ability of squirrels. They’re not too busy so they have time to spend working out how to get into your impenetrable bird feeder. Look for the most durable materials you can find. Metal is a good choice as it’s not possible to chew through that if its a decent thickess. I seen metal case feeders get bitten through so a thick wire is essecial. If the feeder has plastic parts that are within reach, go for strong plastic, even of riot-shield quality which they do sell believe it or not.
FAQ on squirrel-proof bird feeders
What height should a bird feeder be?
Different bird types like to feed at different heights. At lower levels – eye level, 5ft to 6ft above the ground – are cardinals and finches; higher up trees are birds such as woodpeckers and chickadees, which are happy eating between 6ft and 10ft; birds that like to go even higher for their meals include grosbeaks.
Generally, five to six feet high is a good measurement to use for a mixed variety of birds. Squirrels can jump 4ft high, so this placement is just out of their reach.
And remember to put the bird feeder out of reach of hiding places that cats like to use.
How can I keep squirrels away from my bird feeder?
As well as buying one of the squirrel-proof bird feeder models in this review, you can use a squirrel’s strong sense of smell to deter them. They’re said to not like the smell of coffee grounds or of peppermint. Squirrels also aren’t fond of plants that smell like onion – such as chives and onions themselves. Plant these along with lily-of-the-valley and hyacinths with a strong fragrance near to your bird feeder. These are all old remadies but there worth a try although I not used them myself.
Feeding the birds is an action that’s easy to take yet has a beneficial effect on our wildlife. Ensuring that the seeds and nuts do go to the birds is possible if you choose to buy a squirrel-proof bird feeder. These also keep away large birds, such as pigeons that tend to take over the feeder and scare off the smaller birds. The bird feeder models in this review offer a selection of styles and methods of keeping all the undesirables, including squirrels, away.
The Best Pick is the Jacobi Jayne SB-1057 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder – the Squirrel Buster. This is one of a range of feeders for different bird feeds and capacities.
The Peckish 60051234 Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Peanut Bird Feeder is my choice for Best Pick for Peanuts. Squirrels are attracted to the food you put in this feeder but aren’t able to get inside the outer cage. This is a really good quality feeder.
For other pest-proof bird feeders, go over to my Best Pigeon-proof Bird Feeders review. And if you don’t really mind squirrels in general, consider setting them up with their own squirrel feeder. The article, How to attract birds into your garden, helps you get the birds to the bird feeder. Finaly, I have looked at some of the best bird box cameras here which are brilliannnt for watching chicks hatch and learn where to position a next box here.
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API