How to Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders

Learn how to keep squirrels off bird feeders. To discourage squirrels from climbing the pole holding the bird feeder, coat it with axle grease.

| October/November 2008

Keep squirrels off bird feeders by greasing the bird-feeder pole.

How to Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders

For years I have heard about various deterrents to keep squirrels and raccoons out of bird feeders. Recently, I was fighting off both determined critters when I hit on a solution: Grease the pole!

I used axle grease because it was handy, but you could coat the pole with used motor oil. Now the sunflower seeds and thistle are just for the birds.

— Eve Otto
Woodstock, New York

10/20/2008 6:31:11 PM

Motor oil pollutes million to one. One quart pollutes million quarts of groundwater. How about using cooking oil instead.

10/1/2008 9:06:40 PM

I can't believe what I'm hearing, I thought Mother earth News was not only about be self sufficient but also about reducing our impact on the environment and being eco-friendly. Axle grease, motor oil and vaseline (Petroleum product)? Where do you think these products go when they are washed off by the rain? Yep, that's right straight into the ground, that same ground we are trying to cleanup. So you say it's only a small amount? Maybe so, but when you get large numbers of people using the same advice pretty soon it's not such a small amount anymore.

Bev Fans
9/17/2008 7:08:10 PM

We use Vaseline. Raccoons and squirrels both really hate the feel of it on their paws and quickly learn to avoid it. As a bonus, it is clear and relatively environmentally benign, but does need to be reapplied periodically.

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