How To Keep Racoons Off Bird Feeders

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by

Raccoons can be a nuisance to bird enthusiasts who enjoy feeding their feathered friends. These clever critters have been known to raid bird feeders in search of a quick and easy meal, leaving little for the birds and creating a mess in the process.

As a wildlife control expert, I’ve seen my fair share of raccoon-related problems when it comes to bird feeders. Fortunately, there are several effective strategies you can use to keep these furry bandits at bay and ensure your backyard birds get all the nourishment they need. In this article, we’ll explore some tried-and-true methods that will help you protect your bird feeder from pesky raccoons once and for all.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

Raccoons are omnivorous creatures that eat both plants and animals. They have a diverse diet, which includes insects, fruits, nuts, small mammals, birds’ eggs, fish, and even garbage. These adaptable animals can survive in many different habitats but prefer to live near water sources like rivers or lakes.

To keep raccoons away from your bird feeders, it’s important to understand their behavior. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals that become active at night when they search for food. They are also excellent climbers with sharp claws that allow them to climb trees and other structures easily.

Raccoon habitat preferences vary depending on the region they inhabit. In urban areas, raccoons often live in attics or crawl spaces of homes while in rural areas; raccoons may nest in hollow trees or rock crevices. When searching for food or nesting sites, raccoons will explore any area within their territory.

If you want to prevent raccoons from accessing your bird feeders successfully, understanding their behavior is critical. By knowing what types of foods they prefer and where they typically nest or travel through your property, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about how best to keep these critters off your bird feeders without harming them unnecessarily.

Identifying Signs Of Raccoon Activity

Raccoons are known to be sneaky and intelligent creatures that can easily climb trees and fences, making it challenging to keep them away from bird feeders. However, there are ways of identifying their activity around the yard or property. One theory is that raccoons only come out at night, which is not entirely true. Although they are primarily nocturnal animals, they can also be active during the daytime.

One way to detect raccoon activity is by looking for paw prints on the ground. Raccoon tracks resemble small human hands with five fingers and a thumb-like structure, making them easy to identify. You may find these prints near bird feeders or in areas where you suspect raccoons have been scavenging for food.

Another sign of raccoon activity is damage caused by their feeding habits. These animals will often knock over bird feeders or chew through plastic containers in search of food. They are particularly attracted to sweet-smelling foods such as fruits and nuts, so keeping your feeder clean and free of debris can help deter them from coming back.

In summary, identifying signs of raccoon activity requires careful observation and attention to detail. Look for clues such as paw prints and evidence of feeding damage to determine if these pesky critters are causing problems in your yard. By taking steps to secure your bird feeder and make your property less attractive to wildlife, you can enjoy watching birds without having unwanted visitors disrupt their habitat.

Choosing The Right Bird Feeder Design

When it comes to bird feeders, materials are important as they can help deter racoons. Metal feeders tend to be the most effective, however, you can also use plastic and even wood in some cases. Placement is key as well, try to keep it away from trees and other areas where raccoons can easily access it. Installing a locking mechanism, like a spring loaded door, can also be a great way to keep raccoons away. I recommend these steps to ensure your bird feeder is raccoon-proof.


Let’s talk about materials for your bird feeder. Materials are an important consideration when choosing the right design, especially if you want to keep raccoons away from your bird feeders. Raccoons are notorious for their ability to climb and manipulate objects, so it’s crucial to choose sturdy materials that can withstand their weight and strength.

One option is to choose a metal bird feeder with a strong wire or chain hanger. This will make it difficult for raccoons to climb up and access the feeding area. Another eco-friendly option is a wooden bird feeder made from cedar, which not only resists rot and decay but also has natural oils that repel insects like ants and termites.

If you’re feeling crafty, DIY deterrents can be effective in keeping raccoons at bay. For example, wrapping PVC pipes around the pole of your bird feeder can create an obstacle course that raccoons won’t be able to navigate easily. You could also try hanging aluminum pie plates or CDs near your feeder – the reflective surfaces may startle raccoons enough to deter them from coming back.

In conclusion, selecting the right material for your bird feeder is essential in preventing unwanted visitors such as raccoons. Choose sturdy materials like metal or cedar wood, consider eco-friendly options, and don’t be afraid to get creative with DIY solutions like PVC pipe obstacles or reflective pie plates!


Now that we’ve talked about materials, let’s move on to the next consideration when it comes to choosing the right bird feeder design – placement. Effective placement is crucial in attracting birds while deterring unwanted visitors like raccoons and squirrels.

Firstly, it’s important to place your feeder in an area that is visible from inside your home but also provides some cover for the birds. This will allow you to enjoy watching them while keeping them safe from predators. Common mistakes include placing feeders too close to windows or doors where predators can easily access them, or putting them in areas with high foot traffic where they may be disturbed by people or pets.

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Additionally, consider the height at which you hang your feeder. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it’s at least five feet off the ground so that predators like raccoons won’t be able to jump up and reach it. If you have trees nearby, try hanging your feeder from a sturdy branch using a squirrel baffle to prevent squirrels from accessing it.

Finally, keep in mind that different types of feeders attract different kinds of birds, so choose one based on the type of birds you want to see in your yard. For example, tube feeders are great for small songbirds like finches and chickadees while hopper feeders work well for larger species like cardinals and blue jays.

In conclusion, effective placement is key in attracting birds while deterring unwanted visitors. Avoid common mistakes such as placing feeders too close to windows or doors and ensure they’re hung at a sufficient height. Consider different types of feeders depending on the type of birds you want to attract. With these tips, you’ll soon have a bustling backyard full of feathered friends!

Locking Mechanism

Now that we’ve covered the importance of material and placement in choosing the right bird feeder design, let’s move on to another consideration – locking mechanisms. The last thing any backyard bird enthusiast wants is for their hard-earned feed to be stolen by pesky squirrels or raccoons. To prevent this, it’s crucial to choose a feeder with a secure locking mechanism.

There are various types of locks available for bird feeders, including gravity-fed locks, twist-lock designs, and magnetic closures. Gravity-fed locks rely on the weight of the feeding birds to keep the lid closed while twist-lock designs require manual turning to open or close. Magnetic closures utilize magnets to keep the lid securely shut until a bird lands on the perch.

If you can’t find a feeder with a suitable lock, consider adding your own DIY locking mechanism. For example, you could attach carabiner clips to each side of the lid and use a padlock to hold them together tightly. Alternatively, you could drill holes through both sides of the container and thread a long bolt through them before securing it with nuts at either end.

Remember that when installing DIY locking mechanisms, it’s important not to damage the integrity of the feeder itself as this may cause food contamination or even harm birds. Thus consulting an expert is advisable if unsure how best to proceed with modifications.

In conclusion, selecting a bird feeder with appropriate locking mechanisms will help protect your feathered friends from predators like squirrels and raccoons. By being aware of different types of locks such as gravity-fed locks or magnetic closures one can make more informed choices about what kind they want based on personal preferences and needs; however there is always option for DIY solutions should one encounter difficulties finding something commercially available that fits their requirements sufficiently well without compromising safety standards!

Securing Your Bird Feeder

Choosing the right bird feeder design is just one step in attracting birds to your backyard. However, raccoons are also attracted to bird feeders and can cause damage or even steal all of the seeds. Therefore, it’s important to take measures to keep them away from your feeding station. In this section, we will discuss securing your bird feeder.

One DIY solution that you can try is placing a baffle around the pole or tree where your feeder hangs. A baffle is simply an obstacle that prevents animals like raccoons from climbing up to reach the feeder. You can use a plastic cone-shaped baffle or make one yourself out of metal sheeting. Make sure that it extends at least 2 feet above and below the hanging point of the bird feeder.

Another option is to elevate your bird feeder on a tall pole with a squirrel guard attached. This type of commercial product works by creating an unstable surface for any animal trying to climb up towards the seed, which discourages them from continuing their pursuit.

If raccoons are still managing to get past these deterrents, consider investing in a motion-activated sprinkler system. These systems shoot water when triggered by movement within range and serve as an effective way to scare off unwanted visitors without harming them.

Additionally, you could try using hot pepper spray on your birdseed or surrounding area as it irritates raccoon’s sensitive noses and discourage them from returning.

In conclusion, there are many ways to keep raccoons off your bird feeders including DIY solutions such as baffles and elevating poles, commercial products such as squirrel guards, motion-activated sprinklers systems and hot pepper sprays. Try different methods until you find what works best for you!

Using Natural Deterrents

As a wildlife control expert, I recommend using natural deterrents to keep raccoons off bird feeders. One effective method is creating DIY repellent recipes using common household ingredients like vinegar and chili powder. These can be sprayed around the base of the feeder or directly on the food itself.

Another option is to use birdseed alternatives that are less appealing to raccoons. This includes safflower seeds, thistle seed, and suet cakes. Raccoons have been known to avoid these types of food, making it less likely for them to visit your bird feeder.

It’s important to note that while using natural deterrents may work in some cases, they may not be foolproof solutions. It’s always best to take additional steps such as securing the feeder with baffle guards or placing it out of reach from climbing animals.

Overall, incorporating natural deterrents into your raccoon prevention strategy can be an effective way to protect your backyard birds. Experiment with different methods until you find what works best for your situation – keeping in mind that persistence is key when it comes to deterring pesky critters!

Implementing Motion-Activated Devices

As a wildlife control expert, I have seen countless situations where raccoons wreak havoc on bird feeders. While there are many ways to keep these critters at bay, implementing motion-activated devices is one of the most effective options available.

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Motion-activated devices work by detecting movement and emitting a loud noise or flashing lights to scare off unwanted visitors. These devices can be purchased in various forms such as sprinklers, alarms, or even ultrasonic repellers. Not only are these cost-effective options compared to hiring professionals for trapping and removal, but they also provide a humane solution to keeping raccoons away from your bird feeders.

When considering the effectiveness of motion activated devices, it’s important to note that each situation may vary. However, with proper placement and maintenance of these devices, they can prove to be highly successful in deterring raccoons from accessing your bird feeder.

To ensure maximum effectiveness of motion activated devices, follow these three tips:

  1. Position the device strategically: Place the device in an area where raccoons frequently visit and near the source of food.
  2. Test and adjust settings: Make sure to test out different settings and adjust accordingly based on how often you want the device triggered.
  3. Regularly maintain: Check batteries regularly and clean any debris around the device that could obstruct its function.

In conclusion, investing in motion-activated devices can be an efficient way to prevent pesky raccoons from interfering with your bird feeding hobby while providing a humane solution without breaking the bank. By following some simple guidelines for placement and maintenance, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your feathered friends will remain safe from harm without sacrificing their freedom in nature.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Professional wildlife control services can be a valuable resource when it comes to keeping raccoons off bird feeders. These experts have the knowledge, experience, and tools necessary to address raccoon issues in a safe and effective manner. Before deciding whether or not to hire a professional, consider both the benefits and costs associated with this option.

One of the main benefits of hiring a professional is that they will take care of all aspects of raccoon removal and prevention. This includes assessing your property for potential entry points, setting humane traps if necessary, and providing ongoing maintenance services such as sealing gaps in fences and repairing damage caused by raccoons. With their expertise, you can rest assured that your bird feeders will remain protected from these pesky critters.

However, it’s important to note that there are also some costs associated with hiring a professional. Depending on the extent of the problem and the services required, fees can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Additionally, while many wildlife control companies use humane methods of trapping and relocating raccoons, others may resort to more aggressive tactics which could result in injury or death to the animals.

Ultimately, the decision to seek professional assistance should depend on your personal circumstances and preferences. If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn raccoon problem that has persisted despite your best efforts at prevention, then hiring an expert may be well worth the investment. On the other hand, if you feel confident in your ability to handle the issue on your own without causing harm to either yourself or wildlife, then DIY methods might be sufficient.

In summary, while there are certainly benefits to seeking professional assistance for raccoon control around bird feeders – including comprehensive assessment and management services – it’s important to weigh these against any associated costs before making a final decision about how best to proceed. Whether you choose to tackle the problem independently or enlist outside help ultimately depends on what approach feels most comfortable for you and your household.

Maintaining A Clean And Tidy Feeding Area

Now that you have sought professional assistance to keep raccoons off your bird feeders, it is important to maintain a clean and tidy feeding area. This will not only prevent the return of unwanted visitors but also ensure the health and safety of your feathered friends.

One crucial aspect of maintaining a clean feeding area is cleaning frequency. You should regularly clean your bird feeders at least once a week or more frequently if they become soiled with droppings or leftover seeds. Use hot water and soap to thoroughly scrub all surfaces before rinsing and allowing them to air dry.

Another key factor in keeping your feeding area spotless is placement strategy. Ideally, you should place your bird feeders away from trees or structures that may provide easy access for predators like raccoons. Instead, consider hanging them on poles at least 6 feet above the ground or using squirrel-proof cages.

It’s essential to be mindful of how weather conditions can impact the cleanliness of your feeding area as well as the type of bird seed you use. If there are heavy rains or high winds, it’s best to remove any wet or moldy seed immediately to prevent disease transmission among birds. Additionally, certain types of seed like black sunflower seeds tend to attract messier eaters such as pigeons and squirrels compared to smaller millet seeds.

Remember that by following these simple guidelines for maintaining a clean and tidy feeding area, you’ll not only create an inviting space for wild birds but also enhance their overall well-being while preventing unwanted visitors like raccoons from causing harm.


In conclusion, keeping raccoons off bird feeders requires understanding their behavior and identifying signs of activity. Choosing the right feeder design and securing it are important steps in preventing these clever critters from accessing your bird food. Using natural deterrents such as pepper spray or ammonia can also be effective.

For added protection, motion-activated devices like sprinklers or lights can startle raccoons away. If all else fails, seeking professional assistance from a wildlife control expert may be necessary. Remember to maintain a clean and tidy feeding area to discourage raccoon activity. With these tips, you can enjoy watching birds at your feeder without worrying about pesky raccoons raiding it for a snack!

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