How To Keep Raccoons Away From Bird Feeder

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by

As a wildlife specialist, I have seen numerous cases of raccoons invading bird feeders. These opportunistic creatures are known to raid bird nests and steal eggs as well as food from backyard feeders. As much as we love watching birds feeding in our backyards, it is equally frustrating to see them being chased away by these furry bandits.

To prevent raccoons from accessing your bird feeder, you need to take proactive measures that discourage their presence without harming them. In this article, we will explore some practical tips on how to keep raccoons away from the bird feeder while ensuring that birds still visit your garden for food. From physical barriers to natural deterrents, there are several ways to protect your feathered friends and enjoy their company without worrying about pesky intruders. Let’s dive into the details!

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

Raccoons are known to be opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat almost anything that is available. However, their feeding habits vary depending on the season and availability of food. During spring and summer, raccoons prefer a diet consisting mostly of insects, fruits, and vegetables. While in autumn and winter months when these foods become scarce, they tend to seek out other sources of nutrition.

One such source is bird feeders. Raccoons have been observed raiding bird feeders at night for seeds and nuts. They may climb trees or fences to access the feeder or knock it down altogether. This nocturnal behavior makes them difficult to catch in the act but can cause significant damage to your property.

To keep raccoons away from your bird feeder, it’s important to understand their behavior patterns fully. Knowing where they typically roam during the nighttime hours can help you position your feeder out of sight from these curious critters. Additionally, ensuring there are no other food sources nearby – like trash cans or pet bowls – can discourage raccoons from frequenting your area.

Lastly, consider investing in deterrents specifically designed for keeping wildlife away from bird feeders. For example, motion-activated sprinklers provide an unexpected burst of water whenever an animal approaches too closely to deter them from returning in the future. By combining knowledge about raccoon feeding habits with effective preventative measures like these, you’ll be able to enjoy watching birds without worrying about unwanted visitors!

Identifying Signs Of Raccoon Presence

Now that we understand the behavior of raccoons, let’s delve into identifying signs of their presence. It is important to note that while these critters are adorable, they can cause havoc in your backyard. One telltale sign of a raccoon visit is nighttime activity around your bird feeder. They typically come out at night and will raid anything accessible.

Another way to identify if you have had a visit from a raccoon is by examining paw prints left behind. Raccoon tracks look like small handprints with five fingers on both front and back paws. The front paw has an opposing thumb-like digit which sets it apart from other animals’ footprints.

If you do spot evidence of raccoons visiting your bird feeder, it is crucial to take action immediately. You could try using repellents or installing motion-activated sprinklers to deter them from coming near. Another option would be to bring in the bird feeders at night when raccoons are most active.

In summary, keep an eye out for any nighttime activity around your bird feeder and check for distinctive paw prints nearby as those might indicate visits from our furry friends! By taking proactive measures such as removing food sources or utilizing deterrents, you can prevent future raccoon raids on your backyard wildlife haven.

Choosing The Right Bird Feeder Location

Height placement and surrounding environment are crucial factors to consider when choosing the right location for your bird feeder. A good rule of thumb is to place it at least six feet off the ground, out of reach from raccoons or other predators that may try to climb up for a snack. This will also help prevent squirrels from jumping onto the feeder.

In addition to height placement, look around the area where you plan to install your feeder. If there are trees or bushes nearby, make sure they are not too close as this can provide an easy access point for raccoons. Also, avoid placing feeders near structures such as walls or fences which can be used by raccoons as leverage to climb up.

Another important factor is keeping the surroundings clean and tidy. Make sure any spilled seed or debris is cleaned up promptly as this can attract unwanted animals like raccoons who will scavenge for food. Regular cleaning of the feeder itself will also help reduce odors that might lure in these hungry critters.

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By following these simple guidelines on height placement and taking into account the surrounding environment, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of attracting raccoons to your bird feeder. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to wildlife management so take steps now before any unwanted guests come knocking!

Installing Physical Barriers

While it may seem like a simple solution, using physical barriers to keep raccoons away from bird feeders can be an effective method. However, some people may be hesitant to install these barriers due to the perceived difficulty of DIY options or the cost of commercial ones.

But fear not! There are many affordable and easy-to-install DIY barrier options available. One popular option is a PVC pipe baffle that can be placed on the pole supporting your bird feeder. Another is attaching chicken wire around the base of the feeder to prevent raccoons from climbing up.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, there are also plenty of commercial barrier products on the market. These range from metal baffles designed specifically for bird feeders to full enclosures that completely block off access to any potential food source.

It’s important to note that while physical barriers can be very effective in deterring raccoons, they may not work 100% of the time. Determined raccoons have been known to chew through plastic or bend metal poles if they really want access to your bird feeder.

Overall, installing physical barriers can be an effective way to keep raccoons away from your beloved feathered friends’ feeding spot. With so many DIY and commercial options available, there’s sure to be a solution that fits both your budget and needs.

Using Natural Deterrents

As we have discussed in the previous section, installing physical barriers can be effective in keeping raccoons away from bird feeders. However, there are also natural deterrents that you can use to discourage these furry creatures from raiding your feeder.

One option is using herbal repellents such as peppermint or cinnamon oil. These scents are known to repel raccoons and other animals due to their strong odor. To apply, simply mix a few drops of the oil with water and spray it around your bird feeder area.

Another DIY solution is creating a homemade pepper spray. Mix one tablespoon of cayenne pepper with one quart of water and thoroughly spray the mixture on and around your bird feeder. The spicy scent will deter raccoons without causing any harm to them or other wildlife.

It’s important to note that while natural deterrents may work for some time, they may not always provide long-term protection against raccoons. It’s crucial to monitor their behavior and adjust accordingly if necessary.

Incorporating both physical barriers and natural deterrents provides a well-rounded approach in keeping raccoons at bay while still allowing birds to visit your feeder safely.

Cleaning Up Spilled Seeds And Debris

It is important to clean up any spilled seeds or debris around your bird feeder regularly. Not only does it help keep the feeding area tidy, but it also helps prevent infestation from unwanted animals such as raccoons.

Preventing infestation can be achieved by using a broom or rake to sweep up any fallen seeds or debris. It is recommended that this task be done daily if possible, especially during periods of high activity at the feeder. This will help reduce the amount of food available for raccoons and other animals, discouraging them from visiting the feeder.

Proper disposal methods should always be used when cleaning up spilled seeds and debris. Avoid throwing them in trash cans without securing lids as this may attract pests. Instead, consider composting these materials or disposing of them in sealed bags in outdoor garbage bins with secure lids.

In addition to keeping your feeding area cleaner, regular cleanup can also improve overall hygiene around the bird feeder. By taking these simple steps to maintain a clean feeding environment, you can ensure happy and healthy birds while reducing the risk of attracting unwanted visitors like raccoons.

Monitoring And Maintenance

I’m monitoring the feeder to see how often the raccoons are visiting. Regular maintenance of the feeder is essential to keep the birds coming. I recommend cleaning the feeder regularly and making sure it’s in good condition. If the raccoons are still getting to it, you may need to consider relocating the feeder.

Monitoring Feeder

Have you ever woken up to a bird feeder that has been ransacked by raccoons? If so, you’re not alone. Raccoons are notorious for raiding bird feeders and stealing all the seeds inside. However, there are steps you can take to keep these masked bandits away from your feathered friends’ food source.

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As a wildlife biologist, I recommend utilizing nighttime surveillance to monitor your feeder. This means setting up cameras or motion sensors that activate during the night when raccoons are most active. With this method, you’ll be able to see if any animals have approached your feeder and take appropriate action.

Another option is remote monitoring. There are now devices available that allow you to check on your feeder from afar using an app on your phone or computer. These smart feeders also have features like adjustable perch levels that only allow smaller birds to access the seed while larger animals like raccoons cannot reach it.

It’s important to note that monitoring your feeder regularly is key in keeping raccoons at bay. Even with advanced technology, some determined raccoons may still find a way to get their paws on the goods. By being vigilant and proactive in maintaining your feeder, however, you’ll increase the chances of success in providing food for just the birds.

In conclusion, as someone who cares about both birds and wildlife conservation efforts, I encourage implementing measures such as nighttime surveillance or remote monitoring systems along with regular maintenance checks to protect our avian friends from pesky critters like raccoons. Remember: prevention is always better than cure!

Maintenance Of Feeder

Now that we’ve talked about monitoring methods for bird feeders, let’s discuss the importance of maintenance. Seed storage is a crucial aspect to consider when maintaining your feeder. Make sure you are storing seed in an airtight container to prevent mold and spoilage which can be harmful to birds.

Another factor to keep in mind is squirrel proofing. Squirrels can be just as problematic as raccoons when it comes to raiding bird feeders. To avoid this issue, invest in squirrel-proof feeders or install baffles on existing ones to make them more difficult for squirrels to access.

Regularly cleaning your feeder is also essential for proper maintenance. Birdseed debris and droppings can accumulate over time, creating unsanitary conditions that may attract unwanted pests like rodents and insects. A thorough cleaning every few weeks will help ensure a healthy feeding environment for our feathered friends.

In summary, maintaining your bird feeder involves proper seed storage, squirrel proofing, and regular cleaning. By taking these steps, you’ll not only provide a safe and clean food source for birds but also prevent other critters from being attracted to the area. Remember: keeping up with maintenance ensures both the longevity of your feeder and the well-being of its avian visitors!

Seeking Professional Help When Necessary

As a wildlife specialist, I understand the frustration that comes with trying to keep raccoons away from bird feeders. While there are many DIY methods that may seem effective, sometimes it is necessary to seek professional help.

Knowing when to call in an expert can save both time and money. If your attempts at keeping raccoons away have been unsuccessful or if you are dealing with a large infestation, it’s best to consult with a professional. They will be able to assess the situation and provide tailored solutions based on their experience and knowledge.

One effective solution that professionals might suggest is using raccoon repellents. There are various types of repellents available, such as granules or sprays containing predator urine which mimic the smell of natural predators like coyotes or foxes. These products work by creating fear in the raccoons and encouraging them to leave the area.

Another option could be installing specialized hardware around your feeder, such as baffles or cone-shaped guards that make it difficult for raccoons to climb up and access the food source. This method is especially useful if you want to continue feeding birds while deterring raccoons.

In summary, while there are several ways to deter raccoons from your bird feeder, seeking professional help can be beneficial in certain situations. Raccoon repellents and specialized hardware installation are just two examples of effective solutions that experts may recommend. Remember, it’s important to take action quickly before these pesky animals cause any further damage.


In conclusion, keeping raccoons away from your bird feeder requires a combination of understanding their behavior and using physical barriers or natural deterrents. As wildlife enthusiasts, we must respect these creatures while also protecting our feathered friends.

Remember to monitor the area regularly for signs of raccoon presence and clean up any spilled seeds or debris that could attract them. Finally, if all else fails, seek professional help from a wildlife specialist who can provide humane solutions to keep both raccoons and birds safe. Let’s strive to create a harmonious environment where all species can thrive together in peace and balance.

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