Squirrels are amazing athletes! And they are a bane to bird watchers with feeders as they love bird seed!
We recommend you select a placement on your window at least 4 feet from the ground. Clean your
window with Windex or other cleaner before adhering your suction cups to maximize the hold. Make
sure there are no places/platforms where a squirrel can leap to reach the feeder.
Use Safflower or Hot Pepper seed. Squirrels hate it! But birds have no issues with it.
Safflower is a bitter white/grey seed that squirrels just don’t like. Cardinals love it! Some other birds will join the Safflower feast as well including Titmice, Mourning Doves and Chickadees.
For Hot Pepper seed we recommend using a mix of regular seed and Hot Pepper seed to save some money. We’ve had success with about one-third Hot Pepper seed (store-bought pre-mixed) and two-thirds regular bird seed. You may need to adjust to a higher percentage if squirrels revisit.
Why do squirrels dislike hot pepper seed, but birds are ok with it?
Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives peppers heat. The more capsaicin in the pepper, the hotter it is. All mammals (including squirrels) have receptors to taste spiciness. Birds don’t have these receptors, so they are not affected by the spice.
You can buy pre-mixed Hot Pepper seed or make your own. By mixing cayenne pepper powder in your regular bird seed, you can save some money. The downside is it may blow away and the squirrels may return. The other negative is the powder may blow into a bird’s eyes which will create some discomfort.
If you choose to make your own, use about three tablespoons of cayenne powder for every pound of bird seed. Just make sure it is stored in an airtight container between feeding batches.
We love our birds! Hopefully these tips can help make your birding experience more enjoyable and save you money and time by deterring squirrels from your feeder to save for our feathered friends instead!