About us: We own a wild bird feeding supply nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deterring Deer at the Bird Feeders

I have a Squirrel Buster Plus II feeder and I love it. The birds seem to love it too. The squirrels tried to figure it out the first couple of days that we had it up and failed. Since that time, we haven't seen any squirrels attempt to get into that feeder.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood deer seem to be emptying it each night. I'm assuming it's deer because if the feeder is empty in the morning, I see deer and rabbit tracks in the snow. Over the 15 years I've lived in my home, I've seen the deer in my suburban yard at night all four seasons of the year, well before I recently began feeding birds.

So far, my solution has been to take in the Squirrel Buster feeder each night. The deer don't get into the whole peanut, halved peanut, or finch feeders, so I leave those out. If I buy an extension pole for my Advanced Pole System to get it up higher, I won't be able to see the feeder as well from my window, and it'll be above the small Hemlock pines that the birds like to line up in before they come to my feeders. Are there any solutions, outside of fencing my yard, that have worked with keeping deer out of feeders?
Thank you, Rockford, Michigan

How to Stop Deer from Raiding Your Birdfeeder
Deer control is very difficult! And any solution that works initially, the deer eventually get around if they are hungry enough.

Some of the oldies but goodies are hanging human hair, Irish Spring soap, noisy chimes, or aluminum pie plates around the feeders, or sprinkling hot pepper or coyote urine granules. It’s suggested that all deterrents should be cycled so that when the deer have become indifferent to the one in current use, you switch to another repellent.

I don’t have deer in my backyard but I have always suggested what you do already; take in your feeders at night. The Advanced Pole System® (APS) is nice because you can extend the feeder up out of deer’s reach but if you can’t see the feeder that isn’t a good solution.

My next answer is use straight safflower seed. That seed has a bitter taste that most mammals avoid and all the birds except blackbirds and starlings will eat.

Does anyone out there have any better solutions? Press the comments button below and tell us your experience with deer.


SusanM said...

Have You Tried Mothballs? We used that for skunks here.. Works wonders.

NE Ohio said...

My boyfriend's mom swears by regular Irish Springs soap.

Anonymous said...

I just fill the bird feeder every morning and hope the deer enjoyed their midnight snack.

Anonymous said...

We tried mixing safflower seed with the bird seed and the deer just slurped it up. Going to try nijer seed mixed into bird seed next.

#FeedtheBirds said...

You can't mix in safflower with other seeds. iIt has to be only safflower or only Nyjer ( thistle) to work.

Dave said...

I've fed birds for many years but this is the first time I've had a problem with a nighttime marauder. All my feeders have been attacked except my thistle seed feeder. This includes 2 nectar feeders and a jelly feeder for orioles. The seed feeders have been knocked to the ground and the nectar feeders drained each night.

Anonymous said...

we simply add a weight to the cardinal ring each evening to deter deer from our squirrel buster feeder. Take it off each morning. However we do have an arrogant older doe that shows up during daylight so I yell four letter words at her. Sometimes it works but sometimes she returns while its still light! Oh well, whataya gonna do?