Keep Feeder Pests Away!
Readers offer tips on keeping pests away from your favorite bird feeders and birdhouses.
Dave Gondek, Lewiston, Maine
Keep cats away from your bird feeder by setting a wide pile of dry pinecones at its base. Cats won't walk over the sharp cones. I dig a shallow trench around my feeder first to help keep the pinecones in place. —Debby Roberts, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Hawks don't stalk the birds at our feeders since we placed a plastic crow decoy on a nearby tree branch. We got the idea after watching the crows chase hawks as they're flying. —Tom and Susan Kirk, Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Keep house sparrows from taking over bluebird houses by placing the nest boxes in open areas, away from buildings. Sparrows generally nest close to such structures, but bluebirds prefer open terrain. —Bud Sickler, Leesburg, Florida
Keep raccoons from raiding your suet feeder by hanging it from the tip of a branch that won't support the weight of the larger animals. Make sure you hang it high enough so squirrels can't jump to it from the ground. —John Dee Garrick, Grove Hill, Alabama
I purchased a couple upside-down suet cages for my woodpeckers, but crafty European starlings soon realized they could hang on to the wire long enough to nibble or dislodge some suet. So I tied several 6-inch pieces of thin nylon string to the underside of the wire cage. The dangling strings distract the starlings' balance just enough so they can't steal suet. —Carolyn Lathrop, Dixon, Illinois
We have a squirrel-proof feeder that's triggered by a weight-sensitive perch. If a squirrel or large bird lands on the perch, the feeding trough closes.
This feeder worked fine, until raccoons somehow figured out a way around it. So we came up with a solution. We fill an aluminum can with stones and hang it from the perch each night. This keeps the feeder firmly closed until we remove the can in the morning. —Judy Recher, Hopewell, Virginia
To stop pests from raiding my bird feeder, I put a "Slinky" around the pole and attached it to the feeder's bottom. When animals attempt to climb the pole, the stretchy toy keeps them from getting a good grip. —Joelle Stanoch, Sartell, Minnesota