Apple a few countermeasures to keep predatory squirrels out of your birdhouse when the unexpected occurs in and near your new or old birdhouse.
To prevent squirrels from entering birdhouses, one of three methods can be used. One of the better choices is to merely screw a two-by-two foot broad plywood plank onto the roof. Now the squirrels and other predators will get stuck on top, while the birdhouse’s entrance will be safely out of reach.
If you have a bird feeder or scatter seeds on the ground for birds and you notice squirrels visiting your yard, it’s time to quit.
When you put out food for birds, squirrels may become curious and want to investigate the birdhouse, especially if they suspect the nest or nestlings inside contain food. If squirrels are well fed, they shouldn’t bother the birds by entering their nesting boxes.
Put a squirrel feeder up in a tree far from the birdhouse to attract hungry squirrels in search of peanuts or seeds.
Also, never put bird food in the birdhouse; squirrels will try to get in there if they think you’ve forgotten to feed the birds.
Hanging a birdhouse on a super thin steel wire will prevent squirrels from swooping down onto it, which is important because hanging a birdhouse usually doesn’t work or doesn’t work very well.
I’ll keep up with a birdhouse in the spring, and even use it as a roost during the winter, because it’s rewarding to play a role in the birth of a new life.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at some of the ways you may prevent squirrels from entering your birdhouse. First, I’ll make sure the birdhouse isn’t in a bad spot, like under a land bridge, and that the entrance hole is high and dry.
Keep entry hole out of reach
Important in keeping squirrels out of birdhouses is making the entrance hole high enough that squirrels can’t reach it.
It doesn’t matter how high up a tree or how far away on a pole or branch the birdhouse is, squirrels can reach it from where ever they happen to be standing. The birdhouse shouldn’t be placed near anything squirrels can use for climbing or jumping.
Squirrels will use whatever is next to or across from the birdhouse as a springboard to get inside the birdhouse, but this does not include the tree, fence, wall, or pole on which the birdhouse is mounted.
The branch or other object the squirrels use to climb into the birdhouse is clearly a land-bridge.
Likewise, if you use a pole to attach a birdhouse, you should put up a squirrel baffle a good number of feet up the pole to deter squirrels.
We don’t want to provide squirrels easy access to a birdhouse, much like a bird feeder, hence the birdhouse position must be modified if squirrels continue to reach it.
Make roof big and wide
Don’t take access to the birdhouse likely when keeping squirrels out of reach of it, as they will stretch over or even jump, which can be avoided with a birdhouse re-location.
However, squirrels are able to climb onto the top of a birdhouse with relative ease, and once there, they can position their bodies such that they can reach inside the nest box and steal eggs or kill the young.
There isn’t much we can do to prevent squirrels from climbing onto the birdhouse roof, but there is a simple method we can employ to ensure they can’t get to the entrance hole.
A wide flat sheet of plywood can be nailed or screwed onto the birdhouse roof, or the roof can be constructed in two pieces to accommodate an angle of 45 degrees.
The overhang will be so massive with this sheet of plywood set flat on the roof that the squirrels will be forced to watch helplessly from the edge. Squirrels will no longer be able to gain access to the birdhouse’s entry hole since it will be concealed by the overlap of the plywood roof.
Not only will this method deter squirrels, but it will also prevent snakes, raccoons, and even other predatory birds from gaining access to the roof of the birdhouse and attacking the birds and their young below.
Squirrels don’t care how far up a birdhouse is, so we only need to worry about the roof or the hole they use to enter the birdhouse, which means we can ignore the rest.
Remove any kind of ledge
If you want to make your birdhouse as secure as possible for the birds you want to attract, you should start by sawing off or otherwise removing any perches or ledges that are attached just below the entrance hole.
Most backyard birds, like chickadees and finches, don’t need a perch to enter or leave a birdhouse, thus any small bird will do.
Birds don’t need a one- or two-inch wooden (or sometimes metal) dowel protruding out of a birdhouse entrance or exit.
If the birdhouse is not secure, the predators, such as squirrels, will be able to utilize the perch or ledge as a foothold as they try to enter the house.
If the birdhouse you got at the store has a perch, you must take it off in the safest way possible. If possible, use a saw, but if not, you can just just hack it off and sand it down.
To be serious, removing the perch from the squirrel’s nest would alleviate several problems associated with the birdhouse. Squirrels aren’t the only predators that could find shelter in a birdhouse if this handy dowel isn’t removed.
Apply predator guard
If you do not wish to hammer or screw on an additional roof to your birdhouse, due to little experience in carpentry or you fear it will spoil the décor of your box; let’s look at your last but effective alternative for how to prevent squirrels off birdhouses.
First, let’s screw on a metal plate called a predator guard and we should be good to go.
The circular opening in this steel plate can be purchased in any size up to that of a standard birdhouse door.
This metal plate will protect the inner entry hole from being damaged by squirrels that are trying to squeeze through the opening.
Squirrels can nevertheless enter a birdhouse through a larger entrance hole intended for a different kind of bird, such as a woodpecker. With that, we can adhere a wooden block – by screws or glue – that can match the cedar wood of the birdhouse.
What this wooden block will accomplish is enlarge the entry hole outwards of up to one inch.
Squirrels lean into a birdhouse in a way that is safe for them, although an extended out entry hole may make them think twice in case they become caught.
To top it all off, a predator guard can take on the appearance of a squirrel proof feeder, with the added benefit of letting small birds into the house via the entrance hole in the wire while keeping the squirrels out.
Applying one or two strategies that have proven effective in the past is how you can keep squirrels from destroying your birdhouse.
One of my personal favorites is to attach two birdhouse roofs together for a wider overhang; unfortunately, I haven’t given this a try myself just yet.
If the birdhouse has a flat roof, you can simply screw a 2-by-2-foot piece of plywood onto it to create an expanded roof. If the roof is slanted, however, you’ll need to cut the plywood into two pieces.
Either way, an angled roof can at least make it difficult for squirrels to loiter.
Now that we’re back on topic, this screwed-on expanded roof doubles the size of the birdhouse roof, making it impossible for squirrels and other predators to access the entrance hole.
Also, any sort of perch or ledge below the entry hole needs to be removed before you can begin screwing on a wide roof on top of the existing roof rather than replacing the roof entirely.
Perches don’t assist birds at all but can provide a convenient foothold as predators try to gain access to the box interior.
To prevent squirrels from easily entering the box, a predator guard made of metal or wood blocks can be attached to the birdhouse.