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Grey squirrels are a bit like marmite - you either love them or you hate them! Some people really enjoy watching the antics of squirrels as they raid the bird feeders and try to outsmart our inventive ideas for outsmarting them! However, more often than not, people ask us for advice about how to stop squirrels (and also larger birds to a lesser extent) getting onto feeders and scaring off your favourite garden birds. They are very determined animals and can cause major damage to property and land. They can also be extremely noisy, particularly during the breeding season.

Squirrels are rodents, and are born to gnaw. Their incisors never stop growing, so they must chew constantly to keep them worn down. They can have a seemingly insatiable appetite and can easily consume up to 1kg of food per week! They are also extremely cunning and physically equipped to successfully overcome obstacles that we put in their way, as you can see in these photos below.

Anyone who has ever tried to outwit a squirrel with a mechanical device knows how difficult this can be. Squirrels can climb polished steel poles. They can leap more than 8 feet. Their tails give them phenomenal balance, allowing them to effortlessly cross long lengths of thin wire. They can dig and, yes, they can even swim. However building a moat to protect your bird feeders from squirrels is probably not the answer!

If you are troubled by squirrels in your garden and on your feeders and bird tables then you really have three options. The first is to adopt a few measures which may work. The second is to provide an alternative feeding station just for the squirrels. And thirdly- (no, we are probably not allowed to mention a catapult!) if the squirrel behaviour is becoming intolerable, then you can contact a local Squirrel Control Service who will come out, remove the offenders and give you advice about preventive measures. You are likely to find them on-line or in a local directory under Pest Control.


If you do decide to challenge their expertise (that is the squirrel expertise—not the pest control officer!) then here are a few things which you can try;

Try buying a squirrel proof feeder and hang it on a pole system in the middle of your lawn, approximately 10ft away from tree branches and bushes.

When buying a 'squirrel proof' feeder, it may be worth considering what this actually means! Some brands, e.g. Droll Yankee New GenerationTM tube feeders come with a lifetime guarantee against squirrel damage, but do not prevent squirrels accessing the food.

Caged feeders like those in the NutteryTM range are also called 'Squirrel Resistant' since the cage surrounding the central chamber will prevent easy access to the bird food - but the squirrels can still be very adept at gaining access.

We now stock a range of tube feeder 'guardians' which are cylindrical mesh caged 'guards' which sit over the top of the tube feeders. These come in a range of sizes, depending on the size of feeder you wish to protect.

Finally, there are a range of feeders which will prevent the squirrels eating the food. The two most popular and, we consider, the most effective are the Squirrel Buster Range and the Droll Yankee Flipper. The Squirrel Buster range of seed feeders are weight activated and shut off feeding ports when a squirrel lands on them.

The Yankee Flipper uses a cunning weight-activated and motorised perch ring to spin the squirrels off the feeders leaving them no time to enjoy the bird seed! The squirrels soon realise that feeding from the Flipper is impossible and leave it well alone

Other things which might be worth trying are devices which help prevent the squirrels gaining access to hanging feeders. Squirrel baffles and squirrel domes (available for use either as a hanging dome or as a pole mounted dome) act as blockers.

Greasing poles or using a squirrel slinky to stop the squirrel scaling the pole may also be worth trying.

Ground feeding your garden birds may be another alternative. Rather than hanging feeders up, try feeding from trays which are protected by ground feeding guardians. These guardians come in two mesh sizes and the small mesh (size 1) will prevent squirrels squeezing through and accessing the food. And finally, if you haven't succeeded in keeping them off and are feeling despondent - just be grateful that its only a squirrel you will find in your garden helping himself!

And finally, if you haven't succeeded in keeping them off and are feeling despondent - just be grateful that its only a squirrel you will find in your garden helping himself!

With special thanks to Jeff Pike and Steve Frampton for photographs.

 

Bird Bath

Bird baths come in various shapes and sizes and can add beauty and functionality to your garden. While a sculptured or ornamental bird bath may bring an artistic touch to one's outdoor space, the main function of a garden bird bath is to give birds a safe place to bathe, drink water, and clean their feathers. So, what is the best bird bath for your garden? Let's find out!

We sell a range of bird baths here at Really Wild Bird Food, including classic ornate bird baths, wrap-around bird baths, tree pedestal bird baths, and more. With so many options available, you should have no problem finding the best bird bath for your garden and the feathered friends who visit it.

But how do you choose the best bird bath for your garden? Here are some tips to help you make the right purchase...

What is the best bird bath for me?

  • First of all, looks are important when it comes to choosing the best bird bath for your garden. There are a number of different designs available, and you should choose something that complements the overall appearance of your garden. We love the look of this Echoes Bird Bath, a large, glazed bird bath with a ripple design that looks great and provides added grip and stability for birds in need of a drink! 

Echoes bird bath

  • Birds baths come in a variety of different materials and depths. The best bird baths have bowls with varying depths (between 1 and 4 inches) so that birds can choose whether they want to perch and drink from the bird bath or dive in for a quick swim. Look for a product with a rough surface and shallow sloping sides to ensure your feathered friends can get in and out easily.

  • Size matters! Try to select a bird bath that, in addition to being visually appealing, is a good size for your garden. Think about the birds that regularly visit your garden and try to cater to them. There's no point buying a huge, deep bird bath if the only birds that visit you are little finches! Bird baths are often regarded as good focal points for an outdoor space, the best bird baths are both functional and pleasing to look at.

  • Consider the preferences of the birds you wish to attract. Some birds bathe in isolation, while others (e.g. starlings) like to bathe in groups. The latter birds will require a bigger bird bath than those that bathe alone. It's a good idea to do plenty of research to help you find the best bird bath for your garden.

  • Cleanliness should be a key factor. A bird bath with a simple design will be easier to clean, and thus more hygienic overall. When filling your bird bath, you should use tap water or fresh water from a water butt. You may find that algae, leaves and droppings build up in your bird bath, so be sure to clean it regularly with a stiff brush and some diluted disinfectant.
  • Vetark Citrosan solution is a perfect, natural, biodegradable product that can be added to drinking and bathing water to minimise the risk of a disease outbreak. Adding this to your bird bath is sure to make your bird bath the best bird bath in town!

Vetark bird bath cleaner

  • In order to attract birds, you will need to consider the height of your bird bath. The best bird baths for smaller birds are tall bird baths, while bigger birds (like blackbirds) will prefer to bathe at ground level. Just make sure that you don't have any cats or dogs mooching around your bird bath if you choose to place it on the ground.

  • Visibility is also important. While you will no doubt want to be able to see your bird bath, it should be positioned close to some kind of protective cover that will protect birds from predators. Small trees and shrubs are ideal for this purpose & will make your garden visitors feel at ease.

These are a few things that you should consider in order to choose the best bird bath for your garden birds. It should not only be artistic in a way that beautifies your garden but also functional.

Garden Bird Baths

You should always choose a bird bath that serves the dual purpose of visual appeal and providing a comfortable bathing station for the birds themselves.

We hope that this will help you choose the best bird bath for your garden. If you have any questions, or if you would like to enquire about our bird baths & bird care products, don't hesitate to get in touch! You can call us on 01489 896785 or send us an email to sales@reallywildbirdfood.co.uk.

Browse our range of bird baths and drinkers >>