A couple of strategies for your backyard arsenal.

By Southern Living
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Squirrel Eating from a Bird Feeder
Credit: Bunty Khatija/Getty Images

Bird feeders are a must for Southern gardens. Watching birds fly in and out is a distinct pleasure (as long as those birds aren’t going after your blueberry bushes) and adding a bird feeder to your garden will help bring flying friends in for a visit. One aggravating issue that comes with setting up a new bird feeder? Squirrel-proofing it. Squirrels are notorious for climbing into feeders and nabbing the food you’ve left for the birds. Once they gain access, they pillage the bird seed, spilling it this way and that, and leaving a great big mess on the ground below in the process. We have a few tips to help you keep squirrels out of your bird feeder, so read on, and then check out some of our other tips on how to attract birds to your garden as well as how to make hummingbird nectar.

1. Consider the Placement

One of the first steps is deciding where to install your bird feeder. An important thing to keep in mind is to ensure that your bird feeder isn’t hanging near any low branches. Squirrels’ aerodynamic skills mean they can leap from branch to branch, or from branch to feeder, as the case may be. Proper placement away from any easy-access branches can help you make it harder for squirrels to reach the hanging bird feeder.

2. Choose a Strategically Designed Bird Feeder

When shopping for a bird feeder, take Gumpy’s advice. He recommends hopeful bird watchers choose a feeder that’s designed to be anti-squirrel. He says, “There are lots of fancy squirrel-resistant feeders out there that make the critters fly off, fall off, slide off, or close the seed ports. Grumpy uses a tube feeder with short perches designed for little birds and hangs it from his crepe myrtle using a single wire. The feeder hangs at just the right height and distance that it can't be plopped down on or jumped to.”

Good luck, and drop us a line if you have any foolproof methods for keeping those pesky squirrels out of bird feeders.

WATCH: Why Grumpy Hates Squirrels

How do you keep squirrels out of your bird feeders? What birds are visiting your feeders this season?