The Well-Equipped Birder: Squirrel-Proof Feeders

BWD Editor Dawn Hewitt and Production Director Bruce Wunderlich tested out a two different squirrel-proof feeders. Here are their reviews.

Dawn

Roamwild Pestoff Bird Feeder

My yard is rich with squirrels. I have used two Brome squirrel-proof tube feeders for several years—a SquirrelBuster Plus and a SquirrelBuster Peanut Feeder—and they have proven true to their claims. I have enjoyed watching countless squirrels trying to snag a few sunflower hearts or peanuts from those feeders, and failing every time.

But there’s a new kid on the squirrel-proof tube bird feeder block: the Roamwild Pestoff Bird Feeder. While the SquirrelBuster Plus has six feeding ports controlled by one spring, the Pestoff has only two ports, each controlled by its own spring. So, if a squirrel attempts to steal from the SquirrelBuster Plus, all ports close. If it lands on the perch of the Pestoff, only the port it is on will close. If a squirrel can reach into a port of either feeder without putting weight on it, the port-blocking system will fail.

Unlike the Squirrel BusterPlus, the Pestoff can’t be calibrated to allow only the lightest-weight birds to dine. The Pestoff will allow cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers, but maybe not grackles or mourning doves, and certainly not squirrels or chipmunks.

Like my Brome feeders, the Pestoff dismantles for easy cleaning, but it has only three parts. Refilling it, I must admit, is a bit easier than the Brome, but at the same time, the capacity is about half that of the SquirrelBuster. Still, I tend not to fill my feeders, but rather to offer a smaller quantity of seed each day.

So, which do I prefer: the Brome SquirrelBuster Plus or the Roamwild Pestoff? I recommend them both. Carefully placed, both feeders have proven effective at preventing squirrels from emptying them. I’ve seen six birds of various species crowding the perch surrounding the ports of my SquirrelBuster Plus, but only two at a time at the two ports of the Pestoff, so that’s a few points in favor of Brome. But I appreciate the simplicity of the Roamwild, and it costs substantially less than the Brome SquirrelBuster Plus.

My Brome Squirrel Buster Peanut feeder has also proven to be totally effective, earning my strong endorsement.

Bruce

Brome SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder

The many squirrels in my backyard are continually finding a way to raid my suet feeders, so I was eager to try the Brome SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder so that I could continue to feed the woodpeckers without feeding the squirrels, too.

The SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder is equipped with a spring mechanism that closes the feeder when the weight of a squirrel is on it. The spring is adjustable so that you can control the amount of weight it takes to close the feeder. Like Dawn’s tube feeders, the SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder requires 18 inches of clearance around all sides to keep squirrels from reaching the suet without putting weight on the feeder.

A cool design feature is a tray that catches suet crumbs from the feeder, preventing them from dropping to the ground, and allowing birds to enjoy every last morsel. The SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder is easy to load and comes with a handy instruction booklet that lists the weights of common suet-eating birds and squirrels.

This feeder might not stop juvenile squirrels or chipmunks from robbing suet. The weight setting can be changed to prevent these as well, but doing so might shut out larger birds, such as pileated woodpeckers, or multiple birds feeding simultaneously. Overall, though, I think the SquirrelBuster Suet Feeder will greatly help in my battle with the squirrels in my backyard.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest.

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