Keeping Raccoons Away from Your Bird Feeder

What You'll Need
Smooth flexible pipe
Squirrel or raccoon repellant
Squirrel baffle
Humane traps
Poison (in extreme cases and with a permit)

They are cute, cagey and clever. They can also be a nuisance when it comes to your bird feeder. Raccoons are highly intelligent animals and although they are considered to be carnivores, don’t be too easily fooled.

These little masked characters will eat nearly anything including bird seed. No one wants to harm the raccoons because they are fun animals and keep other predators away. In this article we will demonstrate how to keep raccoons out of your bird feeder.

Step 1 - Use Piping

To keep these little rascals from emptying your bird feeder and posing a threat to your fine feathered friends and their eggs, try using some smooth, plastic piping. This is completely humane and will at worst just frustrate the raccoon until it gives up. Place some smooth piping around the pole of your bird feeder. Wind it loosely. This way the raccoon will not be able to grip with its feet and just slide down. The movement might scare it away but it will most likely just give up out of frustration.

Step 2 - If You Can’t Convince Them, Confuse Them

If the tubing doesn’t seem to be doing the trick then try a squirrel baffle. These are quite effective in outsmarting squirrels and have been known to stupefy raccoons as well. They are available in most pet stores and garden centers. It is also another completely humane method of deterring the creatures away.

Step 3 - Keep Out of the Trees

If possible, try to keep the bird feeders away from branches and trees. These are like step ladders to a raccoon, making it easy to get to the food. Any structure that the raccoon can climb should be kept far away from the feeder.

Step 4 - Use Repellant

If all the efforts thus far have failed then consider using either raccoon or squirrel repellant. Spray the ground around the feeder pole as well as the pole itself. These will not cause any harm to the raccoons but should keep them away.

Step 5 - Night Moves

Raccoons are most active at night. If it isn’t too much of a hassle, take your feeders down at night and store them in a place where the raccoons cannot burrow into. Your garage or storage shed should do the trick. In the morning, it should be safe to re-hang them again. Sometimes the raccoons will also give up after a few times.

Step 6 - Traps

Check with your local area council about traps. If the raccoons are persistent they may allow you to trap and relocate the animals. This doesn’t mean kill them. Humane traps can be purchased at some pet stores. You can also check your local Department of Natural Resources. They might actually come and trap them for you.


Most local ordinances permit the use of poisons on wild animals. They are harmful to other forms of wildlife in addition to domestic animals and children. If they are really a nuisance and over taking your garden then get in touch with your local DNR for advice on what you can do.