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I'm not going to let those squirrels get the best of me! I came up with an approach that so far seems quite effective, although it has required some minor tweaking.

See:

Contents

Update

Came home today (saturday) around noon to an almost totally empty bird feeder, all the bird feed on the ground. I can only speculate about what happened:

  • I did have some overhanging branches from which a squirrel might have jumped to the bird feeder. They are gone now.
  • Perhaps a squirrel landed with his forepaws on one of the perches which might have provided enough force to tilt the birdfeeder and allow bird feed to flow out the normal "spillunder" to the feeding trough (a picture will help, later). I'll test that theory and see (approximately) how much weight it takes to tilt the bird feeder that far, then consider hanging a "counterbalance" weight or a tie to the ground (from both perches).

General Concept

Suspend the bird feeder with at least a two point suspension from a horizontal wire or similar so the bird feeder hangs about 6 feet above the ground, in an area away from overhanging branches (that squirrels might jump down from) or underhanging branches or similar projections below the bird feeder (that squirrels might jump up from).

The purpose of the two point suspension is to provide a certain amount of stability — with a two point suspension, the bird feeder can swing in one plane in response to the wind, but cannot twist and spin on multiple axes.

In the particular experimental model the bird feeder has two eye hooks on top, a wire is threaded through these two eyehooks. The ends of the wire are anchored to trees about 12 feet apart and 7 feet above the ground.

Key points

Freely Rotating Objects on Horizontal Support

Mount cylindrical slippery and easily rotating objects on the horizontal wire so the axis of the can is concentric with the axis of the horizontal support (wire).

In the experimental model I used soda cans (12 oz.) and plastic soda bottles (20 oz.), empty, with a hole drilled in the center of the bottom, so that they can be threaded on the horizontal support wire. So far, I've used 4 bottles plus one can on one side of the bird feeder and 8 cans on the other.

The squirrels attempt to climb down the wire, but cannot get a grip on the soda cans to climb past them.

Many variations as to materials are possible.

Unstable Horizontal Shield over Bird Feeder

Mount a horizontal shield over top of the bird feeder but connected to the horizontal support so it is free to pivot. The intent is that squirrels attempting to jump onto the shield cause it to pivot and they immediately lose their purchase.

I haven't actually observed an occurrence of this yet, but since adding the shield (early yesterday), no squirrel has found his way to the feeder. Well, since then, a few have. I've increased the number of cans and bottles on the wires to force the squirrels to jump from further away.

Many variations of this are possible, especially depending on the configuration of the bird feeder. A non-pivoting but slippery metal shield (like aluminum flashing) may be sufficient.

Loading

If the bird feeder is loaded from the top, appropriate arrangements are required to allow loading without removing the shield.

In the experimental model, I've removed the horizontally pivoting cover for the loading hole and let the pivoting shield serve as the cover for the loading hole. To load it, I put feed in a long neck plastic bottle, then pivot the shield up and pour in the bird food.

Sketches (or Photographs)

<later> (Around Dec 25, 2003)

Experimental Method

First, breed a strain of particularly inventive and persistent squirrels, by keeping a bird feeder in the same (approximate) location for 22 years. wink

License

This invention is available for use under the GPL, or a license as close as possible to the GPL for something that is not software.

Contributors

  • () RandyKramer - 12 Dec 2003
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

Revision Comment

  • 19 Dec 2003 — Updated description based on recent modifications and a general rewrite for grammar, clarity, etc.

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Topic revision: r3 - 2003-12-20 - RandyKramer
 
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