Why You Should Start Sprinkling Coffee Grounds Around Your Bird Feeder

Bird enthusiasts often find it frustrating when squirrels sneak into their bird feeders and hog the food meant for the feathered visitors. However, there is a natural and effective solution literally at your disposal that you might not have thought about before: coffee grounds. Yes, those same used coffee grounds that are discarded after making your morning brew can serve as a deterrent to these furry raiders. Here's why you should consider using them to protect your bird feeders.

Simply put, squirrels don't like the smell of coffee. While humans find the scent delicious and invigorating, especially on Monday morning, squirrels detest it. Sprinkling a one-inch layer of coffee grounds around your bird feeder can help keep them away. The coffee grounds won't cause any harm to the squirrels; it merely keeps them away through the smell — making this a really humane method. The grounds can be either decaf or regular, old or new — so long as they are used, this method will work. Depending on weather conditions, you may have to replenish the coffee barricade once a week to ensure its effectiveness. 

Not only do the coffee grounds deter squirrels, but they also enrich the soil. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which can be beneficial for certain plants, as per the University of Wyoming. Over time, the coffee grounds will work as a fertilizer, adding nutrition to the soil and beautifying your garden. This can be especially helpful if you have plants or flowers near your bird feeder.

Dual purpose: pest control and garden benefits

Squirrels are not the only garden-dwellers that dislike coffee. Snails and slugs, ants, mosquitoes, skunks, and chipmunks are also repelled by coffee grounds. Any insect or animal with a strong sense of smell will avoid the Java zone — easy-peasy pest control. However, please be careful if you have free-roaming pets in your backyard. Caffeine can be toxic to dogs and cats (via Pet Poison Helpline), so try to keep them away from where you've sprinkled the grounds. 

Coffee grounds are organic, so you're not introducing harmful chemicals into the environment. By sprinkling coffee grounds around the bird feeder, you're repurposing what is essentially waste and giving it a second life. Considering that most households consume coffee regularly, using this method is a sustainable, economical, and better-smelling (for humans) alternative to commercial squirrel repellents. Some coffee shops will even give away used grounds for free.

Safeguarding bird feeders from squirrel invasions is a challenge. However, with eco-friendly and readily available solutions, like coffee grounds, it becomes a more manageable task. By implementing this unexpected ingredient to keep squirrels out, you ensure that your feathered friends have an uninterrupted food supply and contribute positively to your outdoor garden. The next time you brew a pot of coffee, remember that the grounds can serve a functional purpose in your backyard, around your bird feeder, and, of course, for your energy levels.