How to Use a Garden Shepherd's Crook for a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Squirrels seem to find the most ingenious ways to get to birdfeeders, and too many "squirrel proof" feeders are no match for a truly determined squirrel. Hanging a birdfeeder from a simple garden shepherd's crook makes it truly critter proof and looks attractive in your garden too.
Buy a shepherds crook at any home and garden center. They are typically sold wherever hanging plants are sold since their original purpose is to hang pots of flowers and trailing vines. They come with one or two hooks to hang plants from.
Put it in the ground, far enough away from a fence or deck railing or anything else an ingenious squirrel could use as a launching pad to get to the feeder. It's nice to have it within view from a window so you can watch the birds. The narrow metal pole is too skinny for a squirrel to climb up.
Hang a feeder from each hook and fill it with seed. This will be truly squirrel proof and chipmunks won't climb it, either.
Try this if you have a truly bionic and determined squirrel who tries to climb up the pole, or if you have other feeders on wood posts that squirrels can easily climb. Get a plastic garbage sack and use duct tape to tape it around the base of the pole, two or three feet off the ground. Tape it top and bottom so it billows out a little bit. This won't add much to the garden decor, but it absolutely deters squirrels. As long as it's low to the ground, it won't bother the birds.
Buy some fox or coyote urine to rid your property of pesky rodents. Usually sold along with hunting supplies, or in garden stores or online, predator pee will discourage many prey animals to leave your property for safer, less smelly areas. This does not always work if the local rodents are already used to coyote or fox odor, but it is inexpensive and worth a try. Some people swear by used cat litter as a deterrent, which is of course absolutely free if you have a cat, although like the plastic bags, it won't add much to your landscape design. However, finding harmonious ways to coexist with wildlife sometimes requires a little compromise.
- Avoid putting out poison to kill critters. Hawks and other predators, including cats, can die from eating poisoned animals.
Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.
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