The 'Hack' That Absolutely Doesn't Work To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Bird Feeder

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Birdwatching is a fulfilling activity because who doesn't love to gaze as the majestic and delicate creatures flutter around with carefree abandon? Even more thrilling is setting up a bird feeder at home to watch the colorful birds up close. It can be a disappointment to find that, after loading up enough seed, birds weren't the only wildlife attracted to the feeder. Squirrels are notorious hoodlums when it comes to stealing from feeders. While it might be a bonus animal to some people, others who strictly want to view birds from their windows wouldn't be too pleased. There is a hack involving oil that promises to rid you of squirrels for good, but, just like oil, it holds no water.

Bird feeders aren't just a way to attract the local wildlife to your window, but they also help the birds. When you feed birds, you give the parents a chance to feed their young, especially when food may be scarce. Bird feeders are also beneficial because they give birds the nutrients they need to fly all those miles during migration. So, it is completely understandable why you would be hellbent on shielding the food from those cute but pesky squirrels. There are ways to do this, but the oil hack is a farce.

The oil hack harms both the squirrels and the birds

Keeping squirrels away from your bird feeders is purported to be as easy as greasing down the feeder pole. This "trick" can be seen all over social media, like in this TikTok video by user showing a squirrel diligently trying to climb a greased bird feeder. The idea is to make the bushy-tailed rodents slip and slide on it, and they'll eventually not make it to the food and skulk off in defeat. However, this hack not only doesn't work most of the time, but it's also hazardous to wildlife.

The oil "hack" isn't as potent as you may think, so if it's on your list of things to try, don't. Squirrels are effective climbers and, while they may slip a few times, they are likely to eventually make it up the pole. Not only can they climb super fast, they are also excellent jumpers.

Resorting to oiling the bird feeder can hurt not only the squirrels but also the birds you're trying to feed. The squirrels will end up smothered in oil or grease and try to lick it off of themselves, making them sick. Some people even use toxic chemicals such as WD-40 to coat the poles, which is undoubtedly worse and can lead to poisoning. As for the birds, these oily substances also threaten their lives. There are several other humane ways that you can deter squirrels from messing with your feeder.

Repel pesky squirrels with water, pepper, or a pest-proof feeder

Getting rid of squirrels doesn't mean you have to physically harm them. They are a beautiful part of wildlife, however much of an occasional nuisance they may be. If you want to steer them away from your birdfeeder, there are better options than using oil.

If you have a gorgeous lawn, chances are you also have sprinklers. There's nothing squirrels hate more than being pelted with water, so turn the sprinklers on and splash away. Another great way to repel squirrels is by turning up the heat. Squirrels hate spicy food and, luckily, it doesn't hurt birds. Unleash hot peppers like cayenne from your kitchen onto those seeds to prevent the rodents from snatching them up. If all else fails to shield your bird seed from the curious critters, install a squirrel-proof feeder. Instead of greasing them down, get one with a squirrel baffle just like this Squirrel Stopper and Deflector set from Liberty Products.