Raccoons are classed as omnivores which means that they will eat both meat and vegetation. However, they do eat bird seed and will generally raid your bird feeders at night because they’re nocturnal.
- 1 How To Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Bird Feeders
- 1.1 1. Refill Seed On A Daily Basis
- 1.2 2. Make It Difficult For Raccoons To Climb Your Feeder Pole
- 1.3 3. Install A Squirrel Baffle
- 1.4 4. Check The Location Of Your Feeders
- 1.5 5. Use A Repellent Spray
- 1.6 6. Remove Your Bird Feeders Before Night Fall
- 1.7 7. Don’t Tempt Raccoons Into Your Yard
- 1.8 8. Add A Little Spice To Your Bird Seed
- 1.9 9. Clean Up Under Your Feeders
- 1.10 10. Place A Seed Catching Tray Directly Under Your Feeders
- 1.11 11. Set Up A Sprinkler To Come On At Night
- 1.12 12. Use A Caged Feeder
- 1.13 13. Call In The Professionals
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3 Final Thoughts
How To Keep Raccoons Out Of Your Bird Feeders
If you want to ensure that the raccoons don’t raid your feeders every night, there are steps that you can take to keep them away.
1. Refill Seed On A Daily Basis
Only add enough seed to your feeder to last the day. This means that there won’t be any seed left over in the evening to tempt raccoons onto your feeder. To help you determine how much seed is enough, observe the birds for a few days and determine at what times they visit your feeders.
This way, there will be enough seed for the birds but the raccoons will have to go elsewhere for their feed.
2. Make It Difficult For Raccoons To Climb Your Feeder Pole
Cover the pole with a piece of smooth pipe that moves around freely. The movement of the pipe will deter the raccoon from climbing up the pole to the bird feeder. Plus, the smooth metal means it can’t get a grip to climb up.
3. Install A Squirrel Baffle
Install a squirrel baffle on your feeder pole below the actual feeder. These not only keep squirrels out but they also deter raccoons. But make sure that the baffle is large enough to keep out the raccoons and that they can’t get around it.
The ideal baffle to keep out raccoons is 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. Two common baffles recommended by experts are the stovepipe baffle and the torpedo baffle.
4. Check The Location Of Your Feeders
Make sure your bird feeder is not near any trees or structures that will allow raccoons to climb or jump across to the feeder. You see, raccoons are tree climbers and will readily jump across to a handy bird feeder to get easy access to the bird seed.
5. Use A Repellent Spray
Use a raccoon repellent spray. Spray this on the feeder pole and also on the ground under the feeder. Although not harmful to raccoons, these repellents will certainly deter them.
6. Remove Your Bird Feeders Before Night Fall
One of the best ways to keep raccoons out of your bird seed is to take the feeders down at night if you can. Make sure you store them in a spot that raccoons cannot access.
7. Don’t Tempt Raccoons Into Your Yard
Make sure that you don’t put out any food scraps at night. Raccoons will be attracted to the aroma of any food scraps that are lying around or that they can easily access.
Therefore, ensure that your trash cans have tight fitting lids and that they’re not easily knocked over. If there’s nothing else to attract raccoons to your yard, they’ll go elsewhere and leave your bird feeders alone.
8. Add A Little Spice To Your Bird Seed
Nowadays, you can get special blends of birdseed that contain additional spices such as hot pepper. Birds aren’t worried by the hot spices, but mammals such as raccoons, hate them.
9. Clean Up Under Your Feeders
Birds can be quite messy eaters and you’ll find that the ground beneath your feeders is often littered with spilled seed and discarded seed hull. This will definitely attract raccoons to your yard. Therefore, rake up any spills on a daily basis and remove them.
10. Place A Seed Catching Tray Directly Under Your Feeders
A seed catching tray will collect all the seed which falls from the feeders. This allows for easy clean up of discarded seeds and seed hulls.
Alternatively, you can purchase a no mess birdseed mix which already has the shells removed. This should eliminate most of the mess.
11. Set Up A Sprinkler To Come On At Night
Imagine getting a soaking while you’re sitting down to a nice meal. Setting a timer on a sprinkler to come on at night time is a surefire way to scare away any wayward raccoon about to help himself to your bird seed. If you do this for a few nights in a row, the raccoons will soon leave your bird feeders alone.
You can even get motion activated sprinklers which means that you don’t have to set a timer. Make sure you turn these off during the day though, because you don’t want to get a surprise when you go out to top up the bird seed!
12. Use A Caged Feeder
Another good idea is to purchase a caged feeder which has mesh around it. The gaps in the mesh are large enough for small birds to get through but not large enough for a raccoon to access the seed.
13. Call In The Professionals
If all else fails, you can always trap the raccoons and relocate them away from your property. Make sure though, that it’s legal to do this in your area. Alternatively, you could contact a pest control company who can place the traps for you and then relocate the offending animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do raccoons eat sunflower seeds?
Raccoons certainly do favor sunflower seeds.
Do raccoons raid bird feeders?
Because raccoons are nocturnal, they will raid your bird feeders at night.
What does raccoon poop look like?
To find out whether raccoons have been raiding your bird feeders, you should look around for their droppings. Raccoon droppings are about 2-3 inches long. They are dark and tubular and often contain undigested food such as berries etc.
So now you know that raccoons do, indeed, eat bird seed. But because they’re nocturnal, there are a number of things that you can do to keep them out of your bird feeders.
I do hope that some of these ideas work for you. If you have any other genius ways of keeping raccoons out of your bird seed, please share them with us in the comments below.