The 10 Best Squirrel Feeders
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in March of 2016. It might seem counterintuitive, but one of best ways to stop squirrels from chowing down at your bird feeders is to provide them with a snacking spot of their own. Our selections for this category include a variety of options that will help keep your neighborhood rodents well fed. Many of the designs we included also lend themselves to creating cute photo opportunities with your backyard wildlife. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 18, 2021:
Most of last year’s choices for this category still made a lot of sense, but we did need to make a few changes, including removing the Erva Bird Proof and Woodlink Going Green due to availability issues. The former omission wasn’t a huge loss to the list, as the Stokes Select Lunch Box still offers a very similar design (although it provides no window for you to observe the unit’s feed level), but we were saddened to see the latter option go, as it was our only pick that helped provide squirrels with a balanced breakfast by offering both a corn skewer and a seed dispenser. However, we quickly found two, fun new selections to replace these two.
Our first fresh pick, the Uncle Dunkels Backyard Feeder, has a cool design that uses a one-gallon mason jar as an enclosed feeding space for squirrels, offering them relief from the weather and making it easy for you to observe them. It doesn’t come stained, which could be seen as a bit of a letdown, but enthusiastic DIYers will appreciate the opportunity to treat it with a finish that matches the existing aesthetic of their home.
We couldn’t resist adding our second choice, the Accoutrements Horse Head, to our list, but it must be noted that this option won’t be for everybody. On the positive end of things I have to say about this design – which is intended to be hung from a string eight to 10 inches off the ground, so squirrels need to stand on their tiptoes to get inside it – is that it might be fun for kids, and will likely lead to a fair few silly photo ops. On the negative side of things, it seems undeniable that other users might find that it looks tacky, or just plain horrifying, and it won’t hold a lot of food. A premium model is available, but as its advantages aren’t made obvious, we’re recommending that – if you do decide this is feeder for you – you go with the budget-friendly, standard option.
If the main aim of this purchase is to take some of the heat off your bird feeder, then you might also be interested in checking out our list of squirrel-proof bird feeders.
February 26, 2020:
While the bulk of our previous selections for this category managed to make it through this round of updates, we did eliminate the Health Outdoor Products 903 and Kaytee Cedar, noting that our remaining choices included options with similar designs that were available at lower prices or with additional features. We also added two new options: the Songbird Essentials SE526 is a reasonably priced model designed to accommodate an apple or cob of corn and look like a miniature chair and bistro table – which can create some great photo opportunities; and the Moultrie Feed Station is a nice option for users who don’t like to fill their feeders too often, as it can hold up to 40 pounds of feed for your local wildlife.
A few things to think about in this category:
Capacity: These rodents are relatively tiny creatures, but if this your first squirrel-feeding endeavor, the amount of food they can go through might surprise you – especially once word of your new buffet makes its way around the neighborhood. Refilling your feeder at regular intervals is a bothersome responsibility that can be mitigated by investing in a feeder with a larger capacity. While the Moultrie Feed Station, with its 40-pound capacity, sits head and shoulders above most alternatives in this category, the Woodlink Going Green gets an honorable mention with its 17-pound capacity.
In lieu of loose seed or traditional animal feed, many of our options are designed to accommodate cobs of corn, which seems be some sort of squirrel delicacy. As far as this style of feeder goes, the Woodlink Squirrel-Go-Round gets a nod for its ferris-wheel-inspired design that can accommodate as many as five cobs of corn.
Construction: In this category, this is largely a personal consideration based on aesthetic preferences. While models like the Squirrel Shop Picnic Table and Woodlink Audubon are built with unfinished cedar, others like the Stokes Select Lunch Box and Erva Bird Proof are made of powder-coated metals. While the latter style of construction might offer increased longevity, some users will prefer the natural look of a wood feeder, and even enjoy watching the weathering process, as it turns grey over the years.
The Show: Installing a squirrel feeder might be an act of selfless benevolence for some wildlife lovers, but for the most part, most people invest in feeders because they love watching the animals in their yard. With that in mind, options like the Songbird Essentials Squngee and Woodlink Squirrel-Go-Round can be a lot of fun, as they require squirrels to demonstrate a bit of dexterity and problem solving in order to earn their meal. Models like the Squirrel Shop Picnic Table and Songbird Essentials SE526 are designed to generate adorable photo opportunities that will appeal to some wildlife photographers, as well as garden-variety Instagram aficionados.
Brome Bird Care SquirrelBuster If the main aim of your aspirational squirrel feeder is to prevent the ravenous rodents from cutting into the rations you leave out for your feathered friends, in your bird feeder, then a better idea might be to do away with the charity and consider one of this company's squirrel-proof units. They have several styles to choose from. bromebirdcare.com
Backyard Chirper Their specialty is more avian in nature, but this company still has an impressive collection of squirrel feeders to choose from. While it does appear that they may be prone to availability issues, many models are still readily available, and affordably priced, to boot. backyardchirper.com
Selecting A Squirrel Feeder
If there is one thing few squirrels have trouble doing, it's finding food.
If there is one thing few squirrels have trouble doing, it's finding food. In fact, squirrels are famous (if not outright notorious) for their cunning abilities and daring tactics when it comes to foraging for fallen leftovers, braving the heights to get to bird feeders, and, of course, collecting natural food sources such as acorns, nuts, and more.
Given that squirrels tend to need little help finding food, it makes sense that most of the squirrel feeders on the market are not simply designed to give a squirrel easy access to nutrition, but rather serve as outdoor decoration for your yard or as objects of interest or amusement for nature lovers who are watching the intrepid little critters.
Choosing the right squirrel feeder for your property first involves knowing about how many squirrels you might be dealing with at any one time (and keeping in mind that your new feeder will likely increase the volume of these visitors). If you seldom see more than one or two squirrels in your yard at any one time, then you can feel free to choose a squirrel feeder based on its aesthetics and charm; if you regularly see multiple animals scampering about simultaneously, then you may need a larger feeder that can accommodate several squirrels at the same time.
Assuming you think it's prudent to choose a squirrel feeder designed to feed just one animal at a time, next consider whether you want a unit that blends in with the overall look of your yard, or if you want a bold statement piece. There is a plethora of subtle, handsome squirrel feeders made from wood (choose cedar or redwood, both of which weather well) or from steel painted a demure color like a forest green.
Many of these feeders are designed with the nature watcher in mind; they put an unwitting squirrel on full display as it feeds, allowing a human a closer, uninterrupted view of these occasionally pest-like, but always cute, mammals. Such feeders lure squirrels without drawing much attention to themselves -- especially when not being actively used -- and are a great choice for the smaller yard or for the property where a minimalist or naturally inspired landscape design prevails.
And then in the other category you will find multiple squirrel feeders that span the range from amusing to playful and downright ridiculous. These include squirrel feeders that have moving parts designed to confound squirrels even as they feed, creating a lasting diversion for the animals that will prevent them from causing other trouble (see below for more on this). Others create humor by placing a squirrel on what looks like a diminutive piece of human furniture or by leading the squirrels head into a mask where the food reservoir is housed, creating a hilarious image you, your family, and your guests will love. Squirrels are a fact of life for many properties ranging from the rural to the urban -- you might as well have a laugh at their expense even as you feed and care for your four-legged neighbors.
A Few Reasons Squirrel Feeders Make Sense
If you want a squirrel feeder simply as another decorative piece for your yard, to be enjoyed both for its own aesthetics and for the charming creatures it attracts to your home, that is reason enough to get one. But there are several practical reasons you might want a squirrel feeder. And perhaps ironically, one of the most common reasons people get squirrel feeders is not actually to attract the animals, per say, but rather to keep them away from another area of the property.
Such feeders are also great for keeping squirrels from foraging in your garden or scavenging about your patio or deck.
One of the most common reasons people get a squirrel feeder is to draw the animals away from a bird feeder. Squirrels home in on bird feeders with alacrity, often scaring away the feathered friends for whom the units were intended and rapidly devouring much of the bird feed within. A strategically placed squirrel feeder can keep the animals away from your birds and their food.
In these cases, one of the squirrel feeders that has moving parts that create a distraction and add difficulty to their feeding can keep the squirrel engaged and distracted for longer. Such feeders are also great for keeping squirrels from foraging in your garden or scavenging about your patio or deck. You can also help keep squirrels safer with a squirrel feeder by reducing their need to cross roads or city streets in search of food.
Another reason you might want to consider a squirrel feeder is a sense of duty. If you have created a yard in which squirrels have become accustomed to living based on the bird seed they eat, the scraps they scavenge, or the plants on which they feed during the spring, summer, and early fall, you might need to keep on feeding the animals through the winter to prevent their starvation. Squirrels are highly adaptable, sometimes to their own detriment. If your squirrels depend on you for sustenance, then you may feel you owe it to them to keep them fed at all times.
A Few Words On A Few Squirrels
Squirrels are members of the Rodentia order and in the Sciuridae family. These remarkably adaptable animals exist on every continent of the globe except for Antarctica, and are native to all continents on which they thrive save for Australia.
In the United States, there are five types of squirrel, three of which are the most common and likely to come to mind when you picture a squirrel. The first of these is the Gray Squirrel, which is subdivided into two species, the Eastern Gray and Western Gray. Also common are much smaller Red Squirrels, which live mostly in northern states, preferring pine forests and well-adapted for cold weather. Finally we have the Fox Squirrel, the largest tree squirrel species in America, which are common throughout much of the east and midwest and are quite comfortable in forests and in urban environments.
Fortunately, all three of these types of squirrel (and their subspecies) can all thrive on the same feed, with one type of food the most ideal: when possible, feed squirrels nuts still in their shells. The gnawing required to open the shells helps keep their teeth trimmed and healthy whether they are working on a walnut, a beechnut, or an almond.