A good feeder will lure neighborhood birds in and keep them coming back — as long as pesky squirrels don't gobble up the seed. Luckily, the
best squirrel-proof bird feeders use weight limits and ingenious hacks to keep squirrels at bay, without blocking the birds from accessing their meal.
You want to keep in mind the types of birds you're trying to attract. If you tend to get smaller species, like swallows, in your yard, you may want to go with a weight-restricting feeder or a
caged bird feeder that has small enough spaces for birds to slip through, but not squirrels. On the other hand, if you're looking to attract larger birds, like woodpeckers and cardinals, you may want to opt for feeder that can hold larger chunks of nuts and seed while still managing to keep the squirrels away.
Keep in mind how many birds you tend to get in your yard — the size of the bird feeder, how much feed it can hold, and the amount of perches and feeding holes are all subject to your birds' specific needs.
If you aren't sure which feeder is best for your yard, I've got you covered. Here's a round-up of some
brilliantly-designed bird feeders to choose from.
Best Overall, All Things Considered
It may be pricey, but when it comes to keeping squirrels far, far away, this
genius bird feeder is a must. It features several "weight bars" that give birds a place to perch while they retrieve seeds from this feeder. The bars, however, can detect when a heavier animal (looking at you, squirrels) hop on, causing the feeder to shut the small doors. This feeder also features a top-notch ventilation system to keep seeds fresh for longer, and all exposed parts are completely chew-proof. While the size capacity is a bit limited, you can fit over a pound of seed in this feeder at a time, more than enough to tide hungry birds over for awhile. Best yet, if anything does happen, this feeder comes with a lifetime guarantee. According to one reviewer: "[Squirrels] have gone through numerous of our previous feeders ranging from plastic to wooden ones, which they chew right though (if they have to) to get to the seed. I watched a squirrel try to get into our Brome Squirrel Buster. After several attempts the squirrel just gave up and I haven't seen squirrels near it since. I am very happy with this feeder."
bird feeder and house combo is both effective and affordable. Like the top pick, this adorable feeder features a weight-controlled holder that birds can hang onto while they snack. Similarly, when a squirrel jumps onto the holder, the port to the seed supply closes off, preventing even the most stubborn squirrels from getting a taste. This feeder can be hung from a tree or mounted to a pole, and it even holds up to 8 pounds of seeds at a time so it's extremely low-maintenance. Amazon reviewers agree that this is an excellent feeder, especially for the price. According to one reviewer: "I was very pleasantly surprised at how sturdy and well manufactured this item was. It was packaged well, and is very useful in a garden where birds are enjoyed, but the big birds are costly to feed, and squirrels are a problem. Ideal for the little birds, and impressive in how it all works."
If you want to attract larger birds to your yard, this
squirrel-proof feeder allows space for bigger chunks of food while keeping pests out. This 1.3-pound feeder features a weight-controlled mechanism that's sturdy enough to hold larger birds, like jays and woodpeckers, while keeping full-grown squirrels out. Unlike others on this list, it can hold shelled peanuts, a favorite snack of larger birds, and includes a mesh covering with larger holes to allow a variety of birds access. However, the second a squirrel or other pest tries to get in, this feeder shuts it all down in a snap. Tons of Amazon reviewers are thrilled with how well this feeder works in general. According to one reviewer: "We have several Red-Bellied woodpeckers that hit the feeder throughout the day and a bunch of wrens. Sometimes we'll have as many as six or seven Carolina wrens pecking away, and they are getting fat. On occasion a squirrel will climb up the side of our house and leap onto the feeder but they don't stay long, because they can't get at the goodies."
cage feeder for smaller birds is a simple solution to squirrel problems. It features a long, clear tube in the center that holds a pound of seed. The highlight of this feeder, though, is definitely the wired cage enclosing the tube. The cage features holes just big enough for pint-sized birds to sneak through to safely feed, yet they aren't big enough for squirrels of any size. The inner tube fits one pound of seed, accessible through four separate holes so multiple birds can eat at once. According to one reviewer: "Prevents the squirrels and blackbirds from the feeder! Now all the pretty birds have arrived. Does exactly what we were looking for and holds plenty of seed as well. I’m seeing about 3-4 birds every 30 minutes on this feeder sometimes more frequently."