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Some while back we purchased a Gardman Premium Feeding Station Kit for Wild Birds and have it nicely positioned just outside the kitchen window. Hanging various feeders off of it, and filling them with various bird treats, it didn't take long for the birds to find it and start feeding and paying regular visits. And shortly afterwards, we were casually looking out of the window and up popped a squirrel sitting on one of the feeders to start gorging himself on the food, with another one picking the scrapes off the ground below him waiting for his turn to climb up. Now I do like squirrels and have actually set up a purpose built squirrel feeder elsewhere in the garden specifically for them. But previous experience has shown that bird feeders and squirrels don't go together because squirrels can destroy them, and hence, I needed to find a solution to keep the squirrels away.
Searching through Amazon, I came across this Gardman Universal Squirrel Baffle which looked like it could do the job. At the time, it cost £17.25, and nowadays it still seems to be in the same price range. It is basically a clear stiff plastic dome which is 38 cm diameter. There is a hole through the middle of it and the idea is that you mount the central pole of your bird feeder through this hole so that the dome sits around the central pole with the open end facing downwards. To ensure universal fitment to a variety of poles, the baffle is also supplied with a series of adaptors to fit central poles with diameters of 12mm, 22mm and 25.5mm. You just select which adaptor best fits your pole and place it in position. You then have a clamp affair that clamps up around the centre hole of the baffle and grips the pole, holding the whole assembly firmly in position.
What's it like in use? Well it does stop the squirrels getting up to the feeders. At first, they tried to climb up the central pole as they normally do, and then get stuck in the baffle where they couldn't climb any further. The baffle is also just wide enough to make it difficult for them to try and grip the edge and pull themselves away from the pole and up over the edge of the baffle. Some of the more adventurous ones then tried to launch themselves from the ground onto the outside of the baffle in the hope of them then climbing up. But we had placed the baffle high enough up the pole (just below the feeders), which coupled with the hard smooth surface of the baffle, meant that whilst the squirrels may just reach the baffle, they couldn't get a sufficient grip to pull themselves up any further. So far, this baffle has thwarted all of their attempts to get up to the feeders.
Negative points? Well it is always helpful to balance any review with positive and negatives, and to be honest, there is nothing that I can detail that is specifically wrong with the baffle itself. It seems to be well made and is fairly robust and has lasted well against the elements throughout the year. The only issue I have had with it is with the arrangement of the baffle on the birdfeeder itself. In position, the baffle sits just below the feeders, and as the birds perch on the various feeders and the tray, and then gorge the food in one end, the by-products then come out the other - straight onto the surface of the baffle, and if your feeder is popular with the local birds, the baffle very quickly gets covered in bird poop. It can look unsightly and can be difficult to remove, especially when it gets 'baked on' on a warm day. We generally manage to hose it off every couple of days and perhaps give it a quick rub with a stiff floor brush to get rid of the stubborn elements. But as I said, it's not a problem with the baffle itself, but just how the arrangement is set up around the pole, and you then need to balance the benefits of keeping the squirrels off of the bird feeder, against the unsightly bid poop on the baffle. To me, the poop is just a minor inconvenience compared to the great benefits of keeping the squirrels away from the feeders.
In summary, although a little pricey, if you have spent the money on a decent bird feeding station for your garden, then this is baffle is a must to keep the squirrels from getting to it. Hence, highly recommended.
You may have read about our recent purchase for the garden: a bird feeder station. This new purchase was mostly motivated by a desire to provide somewhere for the dozens of birds that frequent our garden, to eat in safety and without the risk of their food being stolen by squirrels.
Whilst the feeding station has proved to be a good platform for dispensing food to the birds, alone it does not provide protection against squirrels and other rodents from jumping or climbing up the stem of the feeding station, to reach the food.
I had originally bought a Guardman Squirrel Baffle for a robin feeder and it had proved effective except for those persistent and athletic squirrels, who managed to circumvent it. The problem was that it really wasn't high enough off of the ground, due to the dimensions of the support for the robin feeder.
The squirrel baffle is essentially a half sphere of clear plastic about 18" across, with a hole in the top, through which the stem of the feeder passes. The hole is fitted with a couple of grommets of different sizes so as to enable the baffle to be fitted to stems of different thicknesses. For the robin feeder I needed both, for the feeder station, neither. The baffle actually attaches with a thumbscrew, which clamps it onto the stem at the desired position. Needless to say, you fit it with the open end facing down, otherwise all it would do would be to collect rain!
I have found that raising the baffle to a height of around one metre is sufficient to prevent even an Olympic High Jump contender of a squirrel from leaping to the stem above it and the width of the bowl prevents any chance of them climbing around it.
The squirrel baffle I bought at our local Longacres (for some unknown reason, B&Q doesn't sell them!) for what I thought was actually a rather excessive price of £19, which made it even more expensive than the entire feeding station! However, in as far as concerns this type of product, Guardman seems to have a virtual monopoly.
The Guardman Squirrel Baffle is a very effective solution to the problem of rodents raiding bird feeders and so far I have not spotted any of these animals finding a solution to overcoming the obstacle it presents so, I suppose that I have to admit that, despite the price, "it does what it says on the tin".