4 Ways to Raccoon-Proof Your Bird Feeder

Are raccoons raiding your backyard bird seed offerings? Get expert tips on how to raccoon-proof a bird feeder and keep these critters off for good.

Keep Raccoons Away From Bird Feeders

how to raccoon-proof bird feedersCourtesy Tiffany Wagner
A raccoon raids an oriole feeder to eat grape jelly.

“Baffles are not keeping raccoons away from my feeders. Are there any effective deterrents that won’t harm birds or other wildlife?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Victor Reed of Port Townsend, Washington.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “Unfortunately, raccoons are smart, strong and agile.” Here are some methods that they recommend to raccoon-proof your bird feeders.

Also check out our picks for the best squirrel-proof bird feeders and 12 tips that work.

Try Raccoon Baffles

To keep them off feeders, the baffle must be much larger than the ones designed to deter squirrels. Wrapping a smooth sheet of metal around the pole up to 4 feet high, and placing a wide baffle above that, should stop raccoons from climbing.

Learn how to keep squirrels from digging up flower pots and bulbs.

Keep Feeders Away From Trees

RaccoonsKathleen Reeder Wildlife Photography/Getty Images
Make sure raccoons can’t jump onto bird feeders from nearby trees.

After you add baffles to raccoon-proof a bird feeder from the ground, it’s also necessary to place the feeder away from any tall structure or tree that raccoons can jump from.

Do safflower seeds deter squirrels?

Keep Your Bird Feeding Station Clean

To avoid attracting raccoons in the first place, attach a tray under the feeder to stop food from falling, and sweep up any that accumulates on the ground.

Is hot pepper bird seed safe for birds?

Take Feeders Down Before Dark

Rascally Raccoon by William AneksteinCourtesy William Anekstein
One way to raccoon-proof your bird feeder is to take it down when the animals are most active.

Raccoons tend to be primarily nocturnal (meaning they are more active after dark), so it may help to use detachable or hanging feeders and bring them in at night.

Psst—if you can’t beat them, enjoy them. These funny raccoon pictures will make you smile today.

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Sources

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, official birding experts for Birds & Blooms

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.