How to Keep Raccoons Out of Bird Feeders

How to Keep Raccoons Out of Bird Feeders
Many people enjoy setting up a bird feeder in the backyard. The fluttering color and singing of birds adds an element of beauty to any garden. However, bird feeders can quickly become the target of raccoons who may destroy the feeder and eat all of the bird seed. Learning how to protect bird feeders will keep raccoons out so you and the birds can continue enjoying your bird feeder for many years to come.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plastic pipe
  • Empty water bottles
  • Clothesline
  • Raccoon repellent product
Step 1
Make the bird feeder's environment unattractive to raccoons. Position the bird feeders away from trees or roof tops, which are common methods of access employed by raccoons. Also clear away underbrush, tall grasses and debris on the ground surrounding the bird feeder, making it harder for raccoons to hide and lurk.
Step 2
Uproot your bird feeder's pole and slide it through a four to five foot-long piece of plastic pipe, such as PVC pipe available at most hardware stores. Return the bird feeder's pole into the ground surrounded with the pipe. Plastic piping is sold with varying diameters and is able to accommodate most circular bird feeder poles. Don't secure the pipe to the pole. This creates a smooth, slippery surface that is difficult for raccoons to climb due to its texture and because it will move and shake whenever a raccoon tries to grasp it.
Step 3
Use a raccoon repellent product. These products come as sprays, granules or powders that mimic the scent of a predator and drive raccoons away without scaring the birds using your bird feeder. An example is Critter Repellent's Shake-Away Large Animal Repellent. General rodent and squirrel repellents also work, such as BioControl Network's Squirrel Away powder. Apply to the ground beneath your bird feeder, as well as to the post of the bird feeder.
Step 4
String a clothesline between two structures or posts. Punch holes in several empty water bottles and string the clothesline through these bottles so that they spin loosely on the line. Hang your bird feeder between the row of spinning water bottles. This prevents raccoons from climbing along the wire to get to the feeder.
Step 5
Take down the bird feeders at night when raccoons are most active. Store the bird feeders in a secure location, such as in metal trash cans or bins in your garage.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid using lethal traps or poison to get rid of the raccoons that are bothering your bird feeder. Such methods of deterrence pose a danger to other animals, such as pet dogs or cats, as well as small children in the area.

Article Written By Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

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