Controlling Critters Near Your Backyard Birds
There are lots of critters and pests that can interfere with you enjoying the birds in your backyard including bees, squirrels, cats and snakes. Here we offer some questions and answers about the most bothersome backyard bird pests!
How can I avoid bees at my hummingbird feeder?
Bees are usually a problem only in hot weather. It’s inevitable that bees will visit your hummingbird feeder. Little plastic bee guards may help keep them from getting nectar, but it won’t stop them from trying. Don’t take the chance of contaminating your nectar by putting vegetable oil around the feeding portals. The safest solution is to add a few small feeders away from where people are likely to be bothered by bees.
How do I keep the squirrels off of my bird feeders?
Baffling your feeders (preventing squirrels from gaining access to the feeders) is the best way. Feeders can be strung from a thin wire, far from any object from which the squirrels can leap. String the wire with empty 35mm film canisters (lids on) which will spin and dump the squirrels off. There are many squirrel-proof feeders on the market. These may give the squirrels a small electric shock, may prevent them from reaching the seed, or may rotate or bounce to dump the squirrels off. But be forewarned. Squirrels have been known to outsmart the most ingenious of the squirrel-proof inventions.
What can I do to protect the birds in my yard from cats?
Hang feeders at least five feet above the ground. For ground-feeding birds, arrange ornamental border fencing in two or three concentric circles about 16 inches to two feet apart, to disrupt a cat’s ability to leap at feeders or to spring on birds. Harass offending cats with a spray of water to train them to avoid your yard. If all else fails, use a live trap to catch the cats and take them to the local animal shelter. If the cats belong to your neighbors, ask them to restrain their pets from accessing your yard.
How do I prevent snakes from getting into my bird houses?
Diatomaceous Earth is very effective in deterring snakes as well as other pest from coming near your bird house – or even your own home. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is odorless and nontoxic and is EPA approved and registered for use against indoor and outdoor crawling insects, including cockroaches, ants, bedbugs, fleas, boxelder bugs, carpet beetles, centipedes, crickets, earwigs, grasshoppers, ticks, millipedes, scorpions, slugs, and silverfish. For use in cracks, crevices, hiding and running areas, under and behind appliances, and wall and floor surfaces. DE is composed of finely milled fossilized shells of minuscule organisms called diatoms. The microscopically fine, sharp edges desiccate insects’ exoskeleton upon contact and the pests dehydrate and die within hours. The insects also die when they eat the dust.