How To Keep Raccoons Out Of Bird Feeders

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by

Are you tired of waking up to find your bird feeders ransacked by raccoons? These pesky critters can be a real nuisance for bird lovers, but fear not! As a wildlife control expert, I have some tips and tricks that will help keep those furry bandits away from your feathered friends’ food.

Firstly, it’s important to understand why raccoons are attracted to bird feeders in the first place. For these nocturnal creatures, birdseed is an easy source of food that requires minimal effort. Additionally, many bird feeders are designed with perches or platforms that make it easy for raccoons to access them. But don’t worry – there are several ways to deter raccoons from raiding your bird feeders, which I’ll discuss in detail below.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

Did you know that raccoons are among the most intelligent and adaptable creatures in North America? These nocturnal animals have a diverse diet, which includes fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals, and even garbage. Raccoons are known for their dexterous paws that can easily manipulate objects. This ability makes them excellent climbers as they use their powerful legs to scale trees or fences.

Raccoon behavior is largely influenced by their search for food. They tend to be more active during the night when it’s cooler and quieter. As omnivores, these critters will eat just about anything they find palatable – including birdseed from your feeders! Their intelligence allows them to quickly learn how to access bird feeders despite obstacles such as baffles or cages meant to keep them out.

To effectively keep raccoons away from bird feeders requires an understanding of their habits and behaviors. For example, if you notice that raccoons often visit your yard at night-time searching for food sources like pet bowls or trash cans, then it may be necessary to take extra precautions with your feeder placement. Avoid hanging feeders near any structures that could help support the weight of a determined raccoon climbing towards its prize.

It’s important to note that simply moving your bird feeder won’t always solve the problem since raccoons can climb up poles or jump onto nearby surfaces. Instead, consider using specialized equipment designed specifically for keeping these clever animals at bay. By taking proactive measures against unwanted visitors like raccoons and other wildlife pests, you’ll be able to enjoy watching birds without worrying about losing all your seed supply!

Choosing The Right Type Of Bird Feeder

Understanding raccoon behavior is crucial in keeping them out of your bird feeders. Raccoons are nocturnal and highly adaptable creatures that can climb trees or walls with ease. They also have nimble fingers, allowing them to open latches or twist knobs. Knowing these traits will help you determine the best way to keep them away from your bird feeder.

Feeder placement is one essential factor when it comes to deterring raccoons. Place the feeder at least 5 feet off the ground and ten feet away from any structures like trees or fences that they can use to climb on. You may also consider installing baffles around the pole where the feeder hangs so that they cannot crawl up.

Feeder design also plays a significant role in preventing raccoons from raiding your bird feeders. Opt for feeders made of sturdy materials such as metal or durable plastic instead of wood or thin plastic, which raccoons can easily chew through. Tube-style feeders with small openings are ideal since larger birds can still access the food while making it difficult for raccoons to reach inside.

Another option is to invest in squirrel-proof bird feeders specifically designed to withstand persistent attempts by squirrels and other wildlife trying to get into the feeding ports.

Lastly, ensure you clean up spilled seed regularly since this attracts not only raccoons but other unwanted wildlife too. By following these tips, you should be able to enjoy watching birds without worrying about pesky critters ruining all your efforts!

Remember that maintaining a safe distance between their habitat and yours remains key!

Location, Location, Location

When it comes to keeping raccoons out of bird feeders, one of the most important factors is location. The placement of your feeder can make all the difference in whether or not you attract these pesky critters. Here are some tips for choosing the best locations:

Firstly, avoid placing your feeder near any structures that could give raccoons easy access. This includes trees with low-hanging branches, fences, and even buildings. Raccoons are excellent climbers and can easily scale many obstacles to reach a tasty treat.

Secondly, consider hanging your feeder from a pole rather than attaching it to a tree or building. This will make it more difficult for raccoons to climb up and steal food. Make sure the pole is at least six feet tall and has no other nearby objects that could serve as a launchpad for raccoons.

Thirdly, keep your feeder away from areas where there may be natural sources of food for raccoons such as gardens or compost piles. If they know there’s an easier meal to be had elsewhere, they’ll be less likely to go after your birdseed.

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Unfortunately, there are also common mistakes people often make when trying to deter raccoons from their bird feeders. These include using repellents that aren’t effective against raccoons or making temporary fixes like greasing poles or wrapping them in chicken wire. While these methods may work temporarily, they’re unlikely to provide long-term solutions.

Pros Cons
Hanging feeders on metal poles May still require additional measures
Using baffles above/below feeders Can be expensive
Providing alternative food sources Could attract other animals

Overall, selecting the right location for your bird feeder is key in preventing unwanted visitors like raccoons. By avoiding common mistakes and taking simple precautions like hanging feeders properly and providing alternative food options, you can enjoy watching your feathered friends without any interruptions from pesky raccoons.

Adding Physical Barriers

Location is an essential factor in keeping raccoons away from bird feeders. However, sometimes it’s not enough to rely on location alone. Adding physical barriers is another effective way of preventing these pesky animals from accessing your bird feeders and stealing the food intended for feathered friends.

One DIY solution that you can try is installing a baffle. A baffle acts as a barrier between the ground or any surface where raccoons might climb and reach the feeder. It could be made of metal or plastic, but make sure it covers both sides of the pole supporting the feeder. This option provides a cost-effective way of deterring raccoons without harming them.

Another cost-effective option is using slippery poles. Raccoons are skilled climbers; however, they will have difficulty climbing smooth surfaces such as PVC pipes coated with cooking oil or Vaseline. The added advantage of this method is that you don’t need to purchase anything new since most materials needed may already be available at home.

Lastly, investing in squirrel-proof feeders also benefits when it comes to warding off raccoons. Squirrel proof feeders work by closing access ports once a certain weight threshold has been reached, making it impossible for raccoons to steal any food inside. These types of feeders are readily available in stores today and come in different designs suitable for various bird species.

Remember, finding ways to keep raccoons out of your bird feeders does not necessarily mean killing them. There are plenty of humane options available like adding physical barriers while providing more opportunities for birds to enjoy their meals peacefully!

Using Scents As A Deterrent

Raccoons have sensitive noses and can be deterred by the use of certain scents. One effective way to keep raccoons out of bird feeders is by using essential oils. Peppermint oil, in particular, has been known to repel raccoons due to its strong scent. Simply apply a few drops onto cotton balls or rags and place them strategically around your yard where you typically see raccoon activity.

Another natural repellent that may work for keeping raccoons away from your bird feeders is vinegar. The pungent smell of vinegar is unpleasant to raccoons and will discourage them from coming near your property. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz it on any surfaces that the raccoons are attracted to, such as the bird feeder pole or nearby trees.

Cayenne pepper is another option when it comes to using scents as deterrents for raccoons. Sprinkle cayenne pepper powder generously around the base of your bird feeder or anywhere else you want the critters to stay away from. This method works because the capsaicin in cayenne pepper causes irritation to their eyes, nose, and mouth.

It’s worth noting that while these methods may work for some people, they might not always be 100% effective depending on how persistent the raccoons are in trying to access your bird feeders. However, using natural repellents like essential oils, vinegar, and cayenne pepper is an eco-friendly alternative to harmful pesticides or traps. Plus, these options won’t harm birds or other wildlife who share your backyard habitat with the pesky masked bandits!

Trying Motion-Activated Devices

Using scents as a deterrent is one option, but it may not be effective for all situations. If you have tried this method and still find raccoons raiding your bird feeders, it’s time to consider other alternatives. One such alternative is motion-activated devices.

These devices work by detecting movement and emitting sounds or flashing lights that startle the raccoons and deter them from coming closer. They are an effective way to keep raccoons out of bird feeders without having to constantly monitor the area yourself.

When choosing a motion-activated device, there are several factors to consider. First, make sure it is designed specifically for deterring raccoons, as some devices may not be strong enough or sensitive enough to detect their presence. Second, evaluate its effectiveness based on reviews from other users who have successfully used the same device in similar situations. Third, consider DIY alternatives if budget is a concern.

DIY alternatives can include creating your own motion sensor system using inexpensive components like infrared sensors and LED lights. You can also try building physical barriers around your bird feeder setup using materials like chicken wire or PVC piping. Whatever strategy you choose, remember to regularly inspect and maintain your setup to ensure maximum effectiveness against raccoon intrusion.

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Overall, motion-activated devices offer an efficient and reliable solution for keeping pesky raccoons away from your bird feeders. With proper research and evaluation of their effectiveness, combined with potential use of DIY alternatives, you can create a successful defense mechanism tailored specifically to your situation so that you can enjoy watching birds at your feeders undisturbed by unwanted visitors.

Cleaning Up Spilled Seed

As a wildlife control expert, I know that spilled birdseed is an open invitation for raccoons to come and feast at your expense. It’s important to keep in mind that prevention is key when it comes to keeping raccoons away from your bird feeders. However, sometimes spills are inevitable, and cleaning them up promptly can help deter unwanted visitors.

Seed disposal is the first step in preventing waste around your bird feeder. Avoid filling the feeder to the brim as this will only cause more spillage. Instead, fill it just enough so that birds have easy access without causing too much mess. Also, consider investing in a tray or catch basin underneath the feeder to collect any fallen seed.

If you do find yourself with spilled seed on the ground, be sure to clean it up as soon as possible. Raccoons have an incredible sense of smell and even a few stray seeds could lead them straight to your property. Use gloves and a small broom or dustpan to scoop up any dropped seed and dispose of it properly.

Preventing waste doesn’t stop there; regular maintenance is crucial in keeping raccoons at bay. Make sure to check your feeder daily for any signs of damage or wear and tear that may contribute to seed spilling out onto the ground below. By being proactive about cleaning up spilled seed and taking steps to prevent future spills, you’ll greatly reduce the likelihood of attracting raccoons into your yard.

Remember: maintaining a tidy feeding area not only helps prevent pest problems but also ensures healthy habitats for our feathered friends!

Seeking Professional Help

After cleaning up the spilled seed, it’s important to take measures to prevent raccoons from getting into your bird feeders. These animals are quite skilled at climbing and can easily get past most obstacles. However, there are DIY solutions that you can try before seeking professional help.

One option is to invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder. Many of these feeders have mechanisms that close off access to the food when triggered by the weight of an animal on the perch. While they’re designed for squirrels, they also work well against raccoons. Another solution is to hang your bird feeder from a tree branch or pole with a baffle installed below it. This will make it hard for raccoons to climb up and reach the feeder.

If these options don’t work, hiring experts may be necessary. Wildlife control professionals have experience dealing with all sorts of pests and can provide effective solutions tailored to your specific situation. They use humane methods such as trapping and relocation to remove wildlife from your property without causing harm.

When choosing a pest control technician, look for someone who is licensed and insured. They should offer a guarantee on their services and be willing to answer any questions you might have about their methods or equipment. With their expertise, they’ll be able to solve your raccoon problem quickly and efficiently so that you can enjoy feeding birds without interference from unwanted guests.

In summary, while there are many DIY solutions available for keeping raccoons out of bird feeders, sometimes it’s best to seek professional help if those methods fail. By working with a licensed wildlife control professional or pest control technician, you can ensure that your home remains free of unwanted visitors while still being able to enjoy watching birds in your backyard.


In conclusion, keeping raccoons out of bird feeders requires a combination of effective strategies. Understanding their behavior is key to preventing them from accessing your feeder. Choosing the right type of feeder and location can also make a significant difference. Adding physical barriers such as baffles or using scents like peppermint oil can further deter these critters.

However, some may argue that seeking professional help is unnecessary and too expensive. While it’s true that there are DIY methods available, it’s important to consider the long-term costs and potential risks involved in trying to handle this issue on your own. A wildlife control expert or pest control technician has the knowledge and experience needed to effectively remove raccoons while minimizing harm to both animals and property.

Don’t let raccoons ruin your love for bird watching! By implementing a variety of techniques, including seeking professional help when necessary, you can keep raccoons away from your bird feeder for good.

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