Howdy folks! Shoobeeda (age 5) recently discovered the magical animal family called Bird when we moved out of the city and she is so smitten we attached a little feeder the only place we could, on our wood railing around our balcony. Unfortunately a squirrel (foreverafter referred to as The Jerk) has bullied all the birds away over the course of the last week, and is destroying the feeder. Due to the placement most of the recommendations won't fit for us, but I'm interested in the chili pepper one. Are we talking ground Cayenne pepper, dried skins mixed in, hot sauce doused over everything, or a little motion sensored can of mace? Anyone had any luck with this? I would hate to have to bag the whole thing, she was so enjoying running to the sliding door to watch the cardinals, and our favorite the black-capped chickadee
I can tell you from experience, heat has not affected one particularly pesky, persistent squirrel from hoarding all the bird seed for himself. I’m not able to use squirrel-resistant feeders since I feed my birds on the floor right outside my office window (or else that slinky is an ingenious idea!), so I feel the only squirrel deterrent is spice. I first tried cayenne pepper. I read to use the ratio of 1 tablespoon to 10 pounds of bird seed. I ended up doing 1 tablespoon to a ½ pound of bird seed. Nothing. Not even a pause from the squirrel. I then used Tabasco and splashed quite a bit to coat the bird seeds. I tried it and thought it should be spicy enough. It seemed to work initially.
I set out half the bird seed in the morning and watched the squirrel not hoard it, but rather eat some of it plus the apples and oranges, which I welcome, so I scattered the rest later in the day. No sooner had the seeds touched the ground and I was back in my office did the squirrel mosey back. He ate a few, and then the hoarding started again. He literally splays out over the seeds and uses his mouth to vacuum up all the good bits, like the black oil sunflower seeds and cracked corn. If left undisturbed, his cheeks will swell to pretty much the same size as how much I threw out. Aside from his blatant gluttony (mind you, I’m in L.A., so we don’t even really have winter for squirrels to even need to “store nuts for the winter”—and it’s still early spring now!), what really gets me the most is that the more timid birds (like the doves and house finch) will try to wait their turn, but he’ll literally stay there for an hour, sometimes two, monopolizing all the bird seeds till his check pouch swells its fullest. They usually give up and come back later and eat the very little scraps left behind.
My next step is to douse it in Tabasco, then coat it with cayenne pepper. If that fails, I’ll maybe try habanero peppers, because I figure if I can’t handle the heat, he shouldn’t either. That being said, I need to make sure it’s not harmful to the birds, either. Also, I saw they sell a squirrel hot sauce of sorts on Amazon, but after reading the reviews, particularly from someone who lives nearby, it doesn’t seem effective. Seems like the squirrels here like a lot of spicy seasoning/salsa on their seeds, just like their human counterparts.