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What scared away my birds? (1 Viewer)

lasarita

New member
Hello all! We have a simple bird feeder in our backyard, nothing fancy. It is on a pole and the squirrels have managed to climb up it. Still, we had quite a variety of birds visit. At least 6 different kinds within an hour! The kids and I loved it. But, the squirrel knocked down the feeder and I let it sit empty for a few days. When I filled the feeder, I also applied vaseline to the pole and sprayed the pole with cooking spray, hoping the squirrels wouldn't be able to climb it. Well, the squirrels no longer climb it. But the birds avoid the feeder as well! Can they smell the vaseline or the spray? Just wondering what is keeping them away. Thanks for reading and for your expertise!
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
The vaseline can prove to be dangerous to the birds so I would refrain from using it and cleaning it off where you have it.

Also, are there any Birds of Prey flying around? They prove to be a great deterrent to the songbirds and even the squirrels.

Lastly, a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum :t:
 

Kits

Picture Picker
Welcome!

We've applied vaseline to the pole which holds up the feeding station to stop squirrels climbing up it with no problem. The birds don't go near the pole as they fly to the feeders so it doesn't affect them. Maybe it is taking them a bit of time to realise that the feeder is back up having been empty for a few days.

Good luck!
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Squirrels are the bane of the bird feeder's existence, they are voracious, agile and insatiable. Plus they are very destructive, gnawing holes into feeders is like a graduation exercise for them.
The best deterrent is a good baffle on the feeder pole. Audubon sells a good one, but it is easy to improvise one for much less from a piece of sheeting,
Vaseline is more useful for frustrating raccoons, they are heavier and need the grip more.
Cooking oil has the great disadvantage that it goes rancid in short order, especially the better quality oils.
As KC Foggin suggests, a thorough cleaning of your feeders is probably in order, using detergent and hot water to get the greasy parts clean.
If the baffle solution is not practical, possibly because the squirrels have access to the feeder from above or from the sides, you might try using seeds with hot peppers mixed in. Birds don't mind that stuff, but most squirrels do, although I've heard reports of some that get to like it.
Available premixed, but not cheap:
https://www.duncraft.com/Wild-Delight-Sizzle-N-Heat-Bird-Seed
 

lasarita

New member
Thanks guys! I'll clean my pole tomorrow. Also good thoughts about the predator...we do have hawks in the neighborhood every now and then. Hopefully we'll have birds again soon. I really miss them.
 

YuShan

Well-known member
Regarding the squirrels, perhaps you can use the same method that I use to stop cats from reaching my birdbox (see picture). Just bought one of these surgical collars for dogs from a vet. It's a very effective barrier. I've been using it for years.
 

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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
It might also be the time of year...This is migration season so some of your birds might be dispersing elsewhere, or perhaps looking for a cozy little place to raise a family.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Regarding the squirrels, perhaps you can use the same method that I use to stop cats from reaching my birdbox (see picture). Just bought one of these surgical collars for dogs from a vet. It's a very effective barrier. I've been using it for years.

That is a brilliant idea!
Nice application of lateral thinking and probably easier to mount than a metal baffle.
 

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