In this guide we’ll take a look at the best squirrel proof bird feeders for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, build quality, effectiveness and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the best squirrel proof bird feeders for the UK market.
What is the Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?
In a rush? Here's my top choice...
Cleverly designed squirrel proof feeder!
This Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder has several features to ensure squirrels won't steal all the food you put out for birds. There is a trigger which opens the food hatch depending on the weight present. This weight is adjustable - you can even choose which type of birds you want to feed. The capacity is 750 ml and the feeder is strong and can't be chewed through!CHECK PRICE →
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Reviews
Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder Review
For obvious reasons, well-designed bird feeders like this Jacobi Jayne Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder are a good way to save money in the long run. As a feeder that’s designed specifically for holding peanuts (which don’t come cheap) it can help stop cunning squirrels from stealing expensive food away from the birds.
You might not often put out peanuts, in which case there are different versions of this feeder available for other seeds, but, if you do, you’ll know how beneficial they can be for the birds in winter.
This feeder has a hatch-closing mechanism which is triggered when a large weight is felt on the feeder. Dastardly squirrels are therefore unable to get their little mitts on the food because they are heavy and the doors will close.
As a result, filling the feeder to its 750 ml capacity doesn’t seem like such a risk, as you’ll know the peanuts are out of reach of any unwelcome diners (here’s looking at you, squirrels).
Unlike other feeders on the market, it’s gnaw-proof, with all components made of chew-proof metal or RoxResin which won’t succumb to a squirrel’s relentless chewing over time. It’s also, therefore, waterproof, rust proof and UV-stabilised so should stand up to the elements too.
Depending on which model you buy, some of these feeders have an option to adjust their trigger-weight sensibility. You can adjust the central column, which makes it possible to exclude larger birds from opening the hatch as well as squirrels, if you want.
It measures 49 cm long so might not be practical to hang from a bird table – due to it’s larger size you’ll probably want to hang it off a tree, but make sure that it’s got at least 46 cm clearance or squirrels will be able to pull it towards them. They’ll try anything!
The only real downside comes when it’s time to clean the feeder is that there are a few places which are awkward to clean well, so it’s a job that takes longer than you might first envisage.
- It can stop larger birds, such as starlings, as well as squirrels, from getting to the food - you can adjust the weight sensibility by rotating the central column
- Straight forward to assemble and fill
- As long as it's placed in an area recommended by the instructions, the squirrels get bored of trying to get seed out
- If hung too close to a wall or other vertical surface, squirrels will be able to pull the feeder towards them without triggering the hatches to close
- It's not the lightest feeder, so you will need a sturdy branch to hang it from
- Certain birds, particularly magpies and jackdaws, may suss out how to use the feeder even if it's adjusted not to support their weight
Roamwild Pest Proof Bird Feeder Review
If your garden keeps being overrun by bigger birds that are deterring smaller ones from dropping in, this Roamwild Pest Proof Bird Feeder gives small birds a safe spot to feed from, helping encourage them back to the garden.
Whilst other ‘pest proof’ feeders block access to feed based on the weight being felt on the bird feeder overall, this model has individually spring-loaded perches. Ultimately, this results in good news for smaller birds because it means that even if a heavier starling or jackdaw lands on one perch, the hatches don’t close for everyone.
There are three perches in total, and more than one small bird can sit on each one without tipping the scales.
It’s 45 cm long with a pretty impressive 1.5 L capacity meaning you can get a lot of seed in there without having to constantly refill it. In fact, if the squirrels aren’t stealing feed away, it’s unlikely to empty too quickly at all.
There are two rain-proof roofs, one over the top of the feeder, and another over the seed hatches, which allow birds a place to shelter and to eat even during those (quite inevitable) UK showers. Plus, keeping seed try avoids clogging and rot.
Only a very small amount of seed drops from the feeder, especially if using larger feed options like sunflower hearts; therefore, there are less problems related to pests being attracted to spilled seeds, and you won’t waste money either.
The feeder is made from a combination of 304-grade stainless steel and UV-stabilised plastic which should also keep squirrels from chewing their way through the construction itself.
The only thing is that you can’t personally control what weight of bird is deemed ‘too heavy’, so it’s not necessarily the best squirrel-proof bird feeder for people who want a bit of choice over which birds can be fed and which can’t.
- The food hatches only remain open for small birds, so the feeder can be used exclusively by them and they won't be deterred by larger birds
- Long lasting, with quality metal and plastic parts
- The perches are individually spring-loaded, so even if several small birds are on the feeder at the same time, the food hatches won't close by accident
- Easy to refill from the top by simply unscrewing the lid
- Needs to be hung away from nearby branches to stop squirrels from pulling it over - the hatches will remain open unless the squirrel presses on one of the plastic perches
- As this works using the weight of the bird, some unwanted birds such as starlings are still able to access the feed
Things to Know Before Buying a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Using bird feeders can encourage different songbirds into your garden.
The food you provide can help garden birds thrive, and there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that your favourite birds have chosen your garden as their home for the summer or winter.
For many of us, squirrels can pose a bit of a problem to this dreamy scenario.
Often, they steal the food before the birds have a chance to get it, and they can damage the feeders while they’re at it.
Therefore, you might be after something that can feed small birds, whilst deterring squirrels and larger animals. Some of the best squirrel proof bird feeders prevent those acrobatic critters from getting to the food, whilst allowing smaller birds to eat.
The following tips should be useful if you’re thinking about buying one of these feeders:
Squirrels can damage bird feeders by chewing through certain components and generally being mischievous. They’re also likely to discourage birds from visiting your garden because there won’t be any food left for them to eat. Larger birds can also pose a similar problem, standing in the way of smaller birds getting to the food.
As a result, the best squirrel proof bird feeders will also deter larger birds like starling and jackdaws from accessing the food too.
If your bird feeder is constantly raided by squirrels, you’ll also end up buying far more food than you need. Feeding squirrels, who can never get enough food because they’ll just store it in your garden, can become an expensive endeavour!
If you don’t want to say goodbye to the squirrels in your garden, you can always purchase a separate feeder for them.
Squirrel proof bird feeders tend to be more durable than other feeders on the market, and they can also help keep away other unwanted pests like rats because less seed will fall out of the secure feeder by accident.
Therefore, squirrel proof bird feeders are great for:
- encouraging small birds to visit your garden
- having a bird feeder that can only be used exclusively by smaller birds
- stopping squirrels from breaking and destroying the bird feeder
- stopping large birds from stealing food away from smaller birds and dominating the feeder
- reducing the amount of seed which is dropped on the floor and therefore attracting less rats
Hanging Feeders With Weight-Sensitive Mechanisms
Bird feeders come in a range of designs, but you may notice that the reviews on this page are only hanging feeders.
Hanging feeders are generally the best squirrel proof bird feeders because they can have weight-sensitive mechanisms. As mentioned above, these have food hatches that close when a heavy (and therefore unwanted) animal lands on the feeder.
These mechanisms can also help stop the feeder from spilling seed onto the ground. Often seeds are spilled by bigger birds battling with the feeder. If the hatch automatically closes when bigger birds land on the feeder, this won’t allow as much to fall onto the floor. Therefore, they’re a good option for avoiding wasted seed, or attracting rats.
Many bird feeders come with several feeding ports, which means more than one bird can feed at the same time. The number of feeding ports that you choose for your bird feeder is up to personal choice.
If you want a lot of birds to be able to feed from the feeder at the same time, you might want to look for a feeder with individually spring-loaded perches. This will allow small birds to sit on the perches and eat, without having their food source cut off if a large bird sits on a different perch.
Hanging Feeders With Protective Cages
These feeders sit inside a gridded cage. The square opening are small enough for little birds to get through, but too small to allow squirrels or larger birds to access the feeder. They’re pretty robust, and relatively effective – larger animals are physically incapable of fitting through the gaps!
However, if an animal (be it squirrel, pigeon, or other) rocks the cage, they can sometimes succeed in persuading seed to fall out of the opening on to the floor.
Hanging Spinning Feeders
These have a battery inside and are activated when a heavy weight presses down on the feeder’s perch. Therefore, if a squirrel lands on the perch, it starts to spin. This usually results in the nimble squirrel jumping off straight away, and makes it impossible for them to access the food hatch.
Small birds are not heavy enough to activate the the spinning mechanism, so they are able to feed comfortable.
The downside to these feeders is that they require a battery, and could be more prone to breaking seeing as they have a mechanical mechanism. You also need to make sure that they are weatherproof, or bring them inside when it rains, due to the electrical components.
Extra info: Feeder Size and Hanging Location
If you’re hoping to hand your bird feed off your bird table, you will want to look for a relatively small one which is around 20-30 cm long. This is because you don’t want it to hang too low, or be so large that it is very heavy when filled (it could topple the table!).
However, if you’re trying to prevent squirrels from getting to the feeder, you shouldn’t hang it from a bird table – it’s too easily accessible. Bird feeders need to be hung at least 40 cm away from any tree branches, walls etc. Squirrels are surprisingly cunning – they’ll find a way to access the feeder from surrounding surfaces if given the chance!
You should also look for a design that protects the seeds from the rain, or at least has good ventilation to stop seed from getting damp or mouldy. Many bird feeders have sloped protective roofs to keep rain off.
A squirrel proof bird feeder is one way to deter squirrels from stealing bird food.
There are a few other things you can do to which might also help deter them from getting their little paws on that grub.
- At least 1.5 m off the ground. Whilst squirrels are pretty agile, it’s considered that they can’t jump up more than 1.5 meters, therefore feeders should be positioned higher than this.
- At least 2 m from any vertical surface. Squirrels can jump across a long way, but most of the time they won’t be able to jump more than 2 meters, so avoid putting your bird feeder close to any tree branches, fences, etc.
- With at least a 3 m drop. This can be the hardest to achieve, but generally squirrels can’t jump down more than 3 meters, so if you can find a high place to hang the feeder from, they won’t be able to drop down onto it.
Whilst it may not be the most practical to fulfil all of these requisites, at least being aware of them will help you find the most squirrel-proof location in your garden.
Get a Slippery Hanging Pole
If you can hang your bird feeder from a pole, you might be able to achieve all of the hanging location points above.
PVC and copper poles have been noted as being the most difficult for squirrels to climb. They don’t find wood or steel poles to be such a challenge.
Feed the Squirrels
Bear with me here! I know this may seem counterintuitive.
Ultimately, we all probably need to concede that we won’t find a method that stops 100% of squirrels from stealing food 100% of the time. However, you can occupy the squirrels with their own feeding station, with food that may interest them more than the bird seed.
Creating a zone of the garden which is dedicated to feeding squirrels can keep them contained and busy over there. Corn on the cob is particularly loved by squirrels, so consider putting some of that out. You can dry it in the oven first. They also love a variety of nuts including peanuts, hazelnuts and walnuts, so you could put some of those out too.
When feeding any animal in the garden, including birds, make sure there is a water source available for them to drink from.
The right capacity will depend on how many birds you have in your garden.
If you have a lot of regular visitors, a large capacity will ensure you’re not constantly refilling the feeder.
If your garden isn’t quite so busy, a smaller capacity is perfect. Having less nuts or seed in the feeder can also mean that if there are any accidents – for example, if the wind blows the feeder off – you won’t waste as much food.
Most bird feeders have a capacity of between 500 ml and 1.5 L.
You also don’t have to fill your bird feeder to capacity every time if you’re not getting as many visitors. It’s not a great idea to leave seed sitting in a bird feeder indefinitely as it can get damp and mouldy.
You should look to change the bird seed every 6 – 8 weeks. If you find that there’s always a lot left after this time, don’t fill the feeder up as much.
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder FAQs
You can fill your bird feeder with a variety of feed, bird seed is always a safe bet. You can also use:
- Black sunflower seeds
- Soaked sultanas
- Unsalted peanuts*.
*You need to be careful when putting out bigger items like peanuts during spring and summer as adult birds can take the food back to their nests to feed their chicks. If the food is too big, this can cause the chicks to choke.
In the spring and summer make sure that you use food which is chick-safe. In the winter birds will benefit more from high-fat foods than in the summer.
Garden birds might also enjoy fermented cheese, apples, pears and even cooked rice! They should never be fed apple seeds, avocado, salt or chocolate.
Investing in a bird feeder is the best way to quickly attract birds. Food, water and shelter are all essentials. You also need to make your garden feel safe and secure for the birds.
- Create a bird feeding station, where a few birds are able to feed at once.
- Different birds prefer different styles of feeders, so why not invest in a few different styles of feeder and see what you can attract?
- Use a variety of bird feed – try to avoid cheap and low quality seeds. Different birds enjoy different food. Offer a variety of seeds so you can appeal to a number of birds.
- Deck your garden out in bright colours. Birds are naturally attracted to very bright colours, so you should make your garden especially visible. Add colourful bird houses, or vibrant flowers!
Remember that it can take some birds a while to get used to a new feeder, so try to be patient!
Different birds prefer their feeders in different locations. Purchase more than one feeder if you wish to attract a variety of birds.
Some birds prefer a very exposed bird feeder, while others would rather have a feeder that’s a little more sheltered. Place a few feeders in various locations and see who visits.
It’s important to put feeders in places where birds can have a good view of any potential incoming threats, and avoid placing feeders anywhere where a cat could ambush the birds.
Blackbirds, chaffinches and thrushes like to feed from the ground, so try to make sure there is a safe area for them where they will be protected from predators.
To deter squirrels, place your feeder away from branches from where the squirrels can jump onto the feeder. As a general rule of thumb squirrels can jump 1.5 m from the ground, 3 m down from above, and 2 m across from any side.