How to avoid squirrels getting into your bird seed in New England

You know it's spring in New England when the birds wake you.

Which isn't a bad thing at all. Sure, the chirping at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning might wake you up, but the birds don't want you to miss a spring sunrise.

Whether it's a nuisance in the morning or not, having birds on or around your property is a real blessing in the spring (and summer). I welcome all birds in my home and garden. Seeing a bright red cardinal in my garden makes my day.

The most frustrating thing is when you put out some bird seed and these idiots eat it.

The squirrels are like damn ninjas in New England. You can set up a foolproof birdhouse that squirrel ninjas can't get to, but the squirrels somehow open the whole thing and throw everything away for themselves and their friends.

So how do you avoid the squirrels? The best option is to purchase the right bird feeder.

There is a bird feeder that I have found through research and personal experience that squirrels cannot open.

I am referring to the feed cages. They look like a birdhouse trapped in a prison cell.

But here's the catch: the top must be screwed on.

The birdhouses with a string or a flip-up lid are no use – squirrels open the suction cup SO FAST. However, they simply cannot get through the cage and cannot open a twist lock.

Another option I have found is to provide food specifically for the squirrels. Place a bird feeder in a tree or group of trees that is specifically designed for squirrels. Hopefully they'll focus on what they can get rather than what they can't get – they'll leave the feeders to the birds and only take what they can easily get to.

A third option is to put out bird food that ONLY birds like. Now any hungry squirrel will undoubtedly accept any food. But there are certain bird seeds that birds like and squirrels don't.

According to a Mass Audubon article, these bird seeds include safflower (a bitter taste to squirrels), as well as nyjer seed, millet, canary seed and rapeseed.

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