How To Keep Chipmunks Out Of The Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of constantly refilling your bird feeder because pesky chipmunks keep raiding it? As a wildlife conservationist, I understand the importance of coexisting with our furry neighbors. However, when their behavior starts interfering with other animals’ natural habitats and food sources, it’s time to take action.

Chipmunks are notorious for stealing seeds from bird feeders. While they may seem harmless, their constant snacking can diminish the amount of food available for birds and disrupt the balance of nature in your backyard. Fortunately, there are several humane ways to prevent these critters from taking over your feeding station without harming them or disrupting their way of living. In this article, we’ll explore some effective methods on how to keep chipmunks out of the bird feeder and promote a harmonious environment for all creatures big and small.

Understanding Chipmunk Behavior

Chipmunks are cute and cuddly creatures that many people love. However, when they start invading bird feeders, they can become quite a nuisance. Understanding chipmunk behavior is crucial in finding solutions to prevent them from accessing your bird feeder.

One of the most important things to know about chipmunks is their diet. These small rodents primarily eat nuts, seeds, fruit, and insects. They also have a habit of storing food for later consumption in underground burrows or hollow trees. This means that if there’s an easily accessible source of food nearby – such as your bird feeder – they will be more than happy to help themselves.

Another thing to consider is their burrow habits. Chipmunks dig intricate tunnel systems underground where they spend most of their time sleeping and hiding from predators. These tunnels can extend up to 30 feet long with multiple entrances and exits. If you have seen these critters around your backyard frequently, chances are they have made a home somewhere close by.

It’s essential to understand why chipmunks are attracted to your bird feeder before taking any action towards keeping them out. Identifying the source of the problem will give you insight into how best to tackle it without causing harm to these adorable little animals who share our environment with us.

Identifying The Source Of The Problem

Identifying the Source of the Problem:

If you’ve noticed chipmunks snacking on your bird feeder, it’s important to identify the source of the problem before taking action. Often, we assume that preventing chipmunk entry is solely a matter of keeping them away from the food supply. However, there may be other factors at play.

Firstly, consider what type of bird feeder you have and where it’s located. Is it elevated or close to the ground? Does it have an open design or closed off with small openings for birds to access? Identifying bird feeder vulnerabilities is key in making sure that any attempts to deter chipmunks are effective.

Secondly, observe how many birds are frequenting the feeder. Are they able to feed comfortably without being interrupted by aggressive or persistent squirrels or chipmunks? If not, this can lead to frustration for both humans and wildlife alike. A crowded feeding area makes it easier for smaller animals like chipmunks to sneak in undetected.

Finally, take note of surrounding foliage or sheltered areas where chipmunks could potentially hide out and gain easy access to the feeder. Dense shrubbery or trees near a feeding station provide cover as well as landing spots for jumping rodents.

A numeric list of steps can help evoke an emotional response from those experiencing issues with chipmunk invasion:

  1. Frustration – Seeing your hard-earned money spent on expensive birdseed go directly into the tummies of pesky critters can cause feelings of anger and despair.
  2. Empathy – While we might feel frustrated with these little creatures, remember that they’re only trying to survive in their natural habitat just like all other wildlife species.
  3. Responsibility – As human beings living among other inhabitants of nature, we must find ways to coexist peacefully while still enjoying our hobbies such as bird watching.
  4. Hope – With some patience and perseverance, it’s possible to find a solution that works for both humans and wildlife.

By identifying the source of the problem when it comes to chipmunks invading your bird feeder, you’ll be better equipped to prevent their entry in the future. In the next section, we’ll discuss choosing the right bird feeder as an important step towards deterring these pesky critters from taking over.

Choosing The Right Bird Feeder

When choosing a bird feeder, it’s important to consider the types of feeders available. Hanging feeders and hoppers both come in various shapes and sizes, so it’s important to pick the right one for your backyard. Placement is key too, as chipmunks can be deterred if the feeder is set up away from trees and shrubs. Finally, keep an eye out for animals that may be attracted to the feeder, as they may need to be discouraged.

Types Of Bird Feeders

Are you tired of those pesky chipmunks raiding your bird feeder? It’s time to choose the right bird feeder that will keep them away! As a wildlife conservationist, I highly recommend considering two types of feeders: hanging and ground feeders.

Hanging feeders are great because they can be hung high enough so that chipmunks cannot climb up to reach them. Additionally, many hanging feeders come with squirrel-proof features such as weight-sensitive perches or cages around the feeding area. On the other hand, ground feeders may attract more birds but unfortunately also tend to bring in unwanted critters like squirrels and chipmunks.

When it comes to choosing between squirrel proof feeders vs traditional feeders, think about what type of animals are common in your area. Squirrel proof feeders have features such as baffles or weighted springs that prevent these acrobatic creatures from accessing the food source. However, if you live in an area where chipmunks are more prevalent than squirrels, then a traditional feeder might suffice.

In conclusion, selecting the right type of bird feeder is crucial for keeping unwanted guests at bay. Hanging feeders and squirrel proof options both offer effective solutions against chipmunk invasions. Ultimately, it’s important to consider which type of feeder best suits your personal needs based on location and local wildlife populations.

Bird Feeder Placement

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of choosing the right type of bird feeder, let’s talk about another crucial factor: placement. Height considerations play an essential role in deterring chipmunks and other rodents from accessing your bird feeders. Hanging feeders should be hung at least six feet above the ground to prevent these critters from climbing up to reach them.

Additionally, nearby structures can also impact bird feeder placement. It’s best to avoid placing a feeder too close to trees or shrubs where squirrels or other animals could jump onto it. Instead, opt for an open area away from any potential launch points for unwanted guests.

Placement is particularly important when it comes to ground feeders. They should always be placed on a flat surface, preferably made of concrete or stone, rather than grass or soil which may attract burrowing creatures like voles or moles. Additionally, make sure any spilled seeds are promptly cleaned up to avoid attracting hungry rodents.

Choosing the right placement for your bird feeder is just as important as selecting the right type of feeder itself. By considering height and nearby structures, you can effectively deter unwanted visitors while still providing a safe and accessible food source for your feathered friends.

Installing Physical Barriers

Now that you have chosen the right bird feeder, it’s time to address another common issue – keeping chipmunks out of it. These furry critters are notorious for raiding bird feeders and stealing all the seeds, leaving nothing for our feathered friends.

One effective solution is installing physical barriers around your bird feeder. This can be done through DIY solutions or professional installation. Some popular options include placing a dome-shaped baffle above the feeder or attaching a squirrel-proof cage around it. These barriers make it difficult for chipmunks to access the food while still allowing birds to dine in peace.

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It’s important to note that simply raising your feeder off the ground will not deter chipmunks. They are agile climbers and jumpers, so a hanging feeder may still be within their reach. Therefore, investing in a physical barrier is crucial if you want to keep these pesky rodents at bay.

By taking steps such as choosing the right bird feeder and installing physical barriers, you can create an environment where birds can safely enjoy their meals without interference from chipmunks. In the next section, we’ll discuss using natural deterrents as another option for keeping these critters away from your feeding station.

Using Natural Deterrents

I’m a wildlife conservationist, and I’m here to talk about how to use natural deterrents to keep chipmunks out of your bird feeder. One way is to use plants to create a barrier around the feeder. Planting shrubs and tall grasses will make it harder for them to access the food. Another idea is to use scents to deter them. Try placing fresh citrus peels around the feeder or using essential oils in a spray bottle. Lastly, you can use repellents to make them uncomfortable. Homemade hot sauce or cayenne pepper-infused water can be sprayed around the feeder. These methods are all natural and will help keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder.


Are you tired of chipmunks constantly raiding your bird feeder? Instead of resorting to harmful chemicals or traps, consider using natural deterrents such as plants. Indoor plants such as peppermint and spearmint can be effective in keeping chipmunks at bay. These strong-smelling herbs emit scents that are unpleasant to chipmunks, causing them to steer clear of the area.

Outdoor plants can also serve as a natural barrier against chipmunks. For instance, marigolds not only add color to your garden but they also produce an odor that is unappealing to these rodents. Planting daffodils, alliums, and fritillaries around your bird feeder can also help keep chipmunks away. Not only do these flowers have strong scents, but their bulbs contain compounds that are toxic to small mammals like chipmunks.

In addition to planting natural deterrents, it’s important to maintain a clean feeding area for birds. Make sure any spilled seeds or debris is quickly cleaned up so as not to attract unwanted visitors. Consider placing your bird feeder on poles with baffles or squirrel guards installed; this will make it harder for chipmunks (and squirrels) to climb up and access the food source.

Overall, incorporating indoor and outdoor plants into your yard can be an effective way to deter chipmunks from accessing your bird feeder. By utilizing natural methods instead of harsh chemicals or traps, you’re helping preserve the ecosystem while still enjoying the beauty of nature in your own backyard.


If you’re looking for natural ways to deter chipmunks from raiding your bird feeder, consider using scents. Using essential oils and planting herbs can be a great way to keep these rodents at bay. The strong odors of certain plants are unpleasant to chipmunks, causing them to avoid the area altogether.

Peppermint and spearmint are indoor plants that emit strong scents that repel chipmunks. You can place these plants near your bird feeder or in areas where you’ve seen chipmunk activity. Outdoor plants such as marigolds also produce an odor that is unappealing to these rodents. By incorporating these types of plants into your yard, you create a natural barrier against unwanted visitors.

In addition to planting scented herbs and flowers, it’s important to maintain a clean feeding area for birds. Any spilled seeds or debris should be quickly cleaned up so as not to attract chipmunks (or other animals). Consider placing baffles or squirrel guards on poles with your bird feeder; this will help prevent access by squirrels and chipmunks alike.

Using natural deterrents like scents is an eco-friendly approach to managing wildlife in your backyard. It’s a safe alternative to harsh chemicals or traps which can harm the environment and non-target species. Incorporating essential oils and planting herbs takes some effort but it’s worth it in the long run!


As a wildlife conservationist, I advocate for the use of natural deterrents in managing wildlife in your backyard. We’ve already discussed using scents as one approach to repelling chipmunks from bird feeders. However, there are other methods you can incorporate into your strategy.

Essential oils have been found effective in deterring rodents like chipmunks. For example, peppermint oil has a strong scent that repels these animals. You can place cotton balls soaked with essential oils around the perimeter of your bird feeder or near areas where you’ve seen chipmunk activity. This will help create a barrier between them and your bird food.

Another option is ultrasonic devices which emit high-frequency sounds that disturb and deter chipmunks. These devices can be purchased online or at hardware stores and are easy to install. They work by emitting sounds that are too high-pitched for humans but unbearable for rodents like chipmunks.

It’s important to note that while repellents may be effective in deterring chipmunks, they should not harm non-target species such as birds or beneficial insects. As always, it’s crucial to consider the impact on the environment when selecting management strategies.

In conclusion, incorporating natural repellents like essential oils and ultrasonic devices can be an eco-friendly way to manage unwanted wildlife in your yard. By taking steps to discourage their presence, you’re creating a safer environment for both birds and plant life alike.

Implementing Electronic Deterrents

As wildlife conservationists, we understand the importance of protecting not just birds but also other animals that share their habitats. One common problem bird lovers face is keeping chipmunks out of their feeders. While there are many traditional methods to deter these critters, electronic deterrents have been gaining attention lately.

Electronic deterrents work by emitting a high-frequency sound or vibration when triggered by movement near the feeder. These sounds and vibrations can be unpleasant for chipmunks and other small mammals, causing them to avoid the area altogether. In addition, some models come with flashing lights that further disorient pests like squirrels and raccoons.

Effectiveness comparison between traditional methods and electronic deterrents reveals that while both can work in deterring chipmunks from your bird feeders, electronic devices offer an added advantage over conventional approaches. Traditional methods such as using cayenne pepper or squirrel baffles may only provide temporary relief as they are easily overcome by persistent rodents who are looking for food sources.

Cost analysis shows that while electronic deterrents may seem expensive compared to traditional methods upfront; they pay off in the long run because you don’t have to keep buying more supplies such as repellents or traps continuously.

To conclude, implementing electronic deterrents has become increasingly popular among bird enthusiasts due to its effectiveness in keeping chipmunks away from feeders. However, it’s important to note that this method doesn’t always work for all types of pests since they each react differently based on their sensitivity levels towards specific frequencies and movements. If you’re considering purchasing one of these devices, do your research first so you can make an informed decision about what will work best for your situation.

Transitioning into changing feeding habits without saying ‘step,’ another way to protect birds from undesirable guests is by modifying how you provide food.

Changing Feeding Habits

Implementing Electronic Deterrents is a great way to keep chipmunks out of the bird feeder. However, if this doesn’t work for you, there are other options available. Changing feeding habits can also be an effective solution.

Firstly, consider squirrel proofing techniques that will prevent chipmunks from climbing up poles or jumping onto the feeder. You could install baffles on your pole systems or hang feeders higher off the ground. This helps discourage these little creatures and keeps them away from your birdseed.

Secondly, it’s important to know what kind of food attracts chipmunks and avoid using them in your birdfeed mixtures. Seeds such as sunflower seeds usually attract squirrels and chipmunks; therefore, try using nyjer seed instead which does not appeal to those pests but still draws smaller birds like finches.

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Thirdly, make sure to clean up any spilled birdseed around the feeder regularly because fallen seed on the ground can attract unwanted visitors including chipmunks.

Lastly, planting natural barriers around the area where you keep your birdfeeder can help deter chipmunks by making it more difficult for them to access the feeder in the first place.

  • Hang Feeders Higher Off The Ground
  • Use Baffles On Your Pole Systems
  • Clean Up Any Spilled Birdseed Regularly
  • Plant Natural Barriers Around The Area Where You Keep Your Bird Feeder
  • Avoid Using Seeds Such As Sunflower Seeds That Attract Chipmunks

As wildlife conservationists, we should aim to provide safe habitats for all animals while ensuring that our feathered friends get their daily meals without interruption by pesky critters like chipmunks. By changing some key feeding habits and implementing preventative measures against these furry intruders, we can create a harmonious environment where everyone has enough space and resources to thrive.

Creating alternative food sources for chipmunks is another step towards this goal. By planting wildflowers or fruits like berries, we can provide natural sources of food for chipmunks that don’t interfere with our bird feeding areas. This way, everyone gets to enjoy the great outdoors without any pesky critters getting in the way!

Creating Alternative Food Sources For Chipmunks

Picture this: you’re sitting in your backyard, enjoying the peaceful sound of birds chirping as they gather around your bird feeder. Suddenly, a chipmunk appears and starts feasting on the seeds meant for the birds. Frustrating, right? But before resorting to DIY squirrel proofing methods that may harm other wildlife or using chemicals that could be dangerous for pets, consider creating alternative food sources for these little critters.

One pet friendly solution is to plant a garden with foods that chipmunks enjoy such as sunflowers, corn, and berries. This provides them with their own source of sustenance while also keeping them away from your bird feeder. You can even create designated feeding areas by placing small bowls of nuts or seeds throughout your yard.

Another option is to place a separate tray near your bird feeder filled with seeds specifically meant for ground-feeding birds like doves or sparrows. Chipmunks are less likely to climb onto a tray that’s low to the ground and made for different types of birds.

Lastly, consider adding natural deterrents around your property such as planting mint or lavender which chipmunks dislike due to their strong scent. Sprinkling cayenne pepper or garlic powder around areas where chipmunks frequent has also been known to keep them at bay without harming any animals.

Incorporating these alternative food sources not only keeps chipmunks out of your bird feeder but also promotes harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife. By utilizing pet-friendly solutions and avoiding harmful measures, we can ensure our yards remain safe havens for all creatures great and small.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Homemade Bird Feeder To Keep Chipmunks Out?

As a wildlife conservationist, I always recommend DIY solutions and alternative strategies to help protect our feathered friends. Creating your own bird feeder can be a fun and rewarding experience that not only keeps chipmunks at bay but also allows you to use sustainable materials. Consider using mesh or wire cages as opposed to traditional feeders with large openings. Additionally, placing the feeder higher up in a tree can make it more difficult for chipmunks to access. Remember, taking small steps like these can have a big impact on preserving natural habitats and keeping our ecosystems healthy.

Will Using Hot Peppers In My Bird Seed Mix Harm The Birds?

As a wildlife conservationist, it’s important to find solutions that are both effective and bird-friendly. When it comes to deterring chipmunks from your bird feeder, using hot peppers in the seed mix may seem like an easy fix. However, it’s important to consider alternative options that won’t harm our feathered friends. For instance, utilizing certain types of feeders or adding baffles can keep chipmunks at bay without compromising the welfare of birds. Let’s remember that we share this planet with countless creatures and finding peaceful coexistence is always the best approach.

Is It Necessary To Remove All Fallen Bird Seed To Keep Chipmunks Away?

Removing fallen bird seed regularly is an important step in maintaining a healthy backyard ecosystem. These seeds can attract not only chipmunks but also other unwanted wildlife such as squirrels and raccoons. However, it’s essential to do so without harming the birds that rely on these feeders for sustenance. One solution could be using homemade feeders designed specifically to prevent seed spillage, reducing the need for constant clean-up. By taking these simple steps, we can create a safe and welcoming environment for our feathered friends while minimizing potential conflicts with other backyard inhabitants.

How Often Should I Clean My Bird Feeder To Prevent Chipmunk Attraction?

As a wildlife conservationist, it is important to maintain the cleanliness of bird feeders in order to prevent the attraction of certain bird species and other animals. Cleaning frequency may depend on several factors such as weather conditions and feeder design but a general rule of thumb is to clean them at least once every two weeks with warm soapy water. It is also essential to be mindful of the type of food being offered as some birds have specific preferences that could lead to an excess amount of waste which can attract unwanted visitors like chipmunks. By practicing good hygiene habits and offering appropriate types of birdseed, we can create a safe environment for our feathered friends while minimizing any negative impacts on local wildlife populations.

Can I Use A Cat As A Natural Deterrent For Chipmunks At My Bird Feeder?

As a wildlife conservationist, I advise against using cats as a natural deterrent for chipmunks at bird feeders. While they may seem like an effective solution, domesticated or feral cats can pose a threat to the local ecosystem and other small animals in the area. Instead, consider adjusting your birdseed mix to include less appealing options for chipmunks such as safflower seeds or nyjer seeds. Additionally, placing your feeder on a pole with a baffle or investing in a squirrel-proof feeder can also help keep unwanted critters away while still allowing birds to enjoy their meals in peace. Remember, it’s important to find solutions that are both effective and environmentally responsible.


As a wildlife conservationist, it’s important to understand the impact that chipmunks can have on bird feeders. These little critters love nothing more than snacking on seeds and nuts, which means they’re often attracted to your bird feeder. But fear not, there are ways to keep them at bay.

Firstly, a homemade bird feeder may not be the best option if you want to deter chipmunks. They’re crafty creatures who will find their way into almost anything! Instead, consider investing in a sturdy metal or plastic feeder with narrow openings that chipmunks can’t squeeze through. And don’t worry about harming birds with hot peppers – they won’t even notice the heat!

However, it is necessary to remove fallen seed from around your feeder regularly as this can attract chipmunks and other pests like squirrels and rats. Additionally, cleaning your feeder every few weeks will ensure no old food remains that could become moldy or rotten – another attraction for these pesky rodents.

Finally, while cats may seem like a natural solution for keeping chipmunks away from your bird feeder, it’s important to remember that domestic cats can pose a significant threat to local wildlife populations themselves. So instead of relying on our feline friends, let’s focus on creating safe spaces for both birds and small mammals alike. By taking simple steps like using proper feeders and regular maintenance we can protect our feathered friends without causing harm to any of our furry neighbors.

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