Dealing with Squirrels and Starlings

PDF Download: Chip Notes Consumer – Squirrels

Distract Persistent Squirrels

Go Ahead – Feed Them!

If you feed the birds, chances are you’ve asked: how do I keep the squirrels out of the bird feeders?! The succinct answer is: make it hard for them to get where you don’t want them AND make it easy for them to eat elsewhere! The strategy will only work if you do both. Pole or post baffles under a feeder, or squirrel domes for hanging feeders cause the critters to have to expend energy in order to consume energy (bird seed). A simple platform feeder placed on the ground and filled with whole or cracked corn will give the squirrels a less strenuous opportunity to dine. Knowing that squirrels are an arboreal animal means placing the squirrel feeder adjacent to the woods or tree line will keep them contented and away from your preferred bird viewing location.

Discourage Persistent Starlings

Try An Upside-Down Suet Feeder

Suet cakes are a popular and effective means to attract arboreal species like woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches. But, some lament: “My suet feeder has been taken over by starlings!” Why does this happen? European Starlings, a non-native species, are considered “omnivores,” meaning they eat many different forms of food. They are aggressive and opportunistic foragers. Because they do not have a true seed-eaters bill, they are more attracted to softer types of foods than the typical seed mix. Suet cakes fit the “bill.” Furthermore, quality suet cakes contain generous amounts of beef tallow or beef kidney fat. This source of energy is appealing to many bird species, including starlings. So what should you do? The best option is a cake holder that only allows access from the bottom (see suet feeder above). Starlings find it exceedingly difficult or impossible to cling upside down and feed on the suet. The arboreal species, used to hanging and clinging in their natural woodland habitat, have no problem accomplishing the feat.