March 24, 2019

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The Bird Feeder Coon-undrum

As much as we love feeding the birds last summer we had to put our feeders away,  just way too many raccoons raiding them every night and in the early morning hours. Raccoons just don’t eat a little seed and slink away they eat ALL the seed and slink away. Any of you that feed birds know what an expense it is to buy bird seed, it isn’t cheap!! Last fall we fell back, regrouped, whipped up a couple new feeders and formed a plan. We were going to raccoon proof our bird feeders once and for all.  I took one of the 4×4’s I had lying around and wrapped it in aluminum figuring the coons and squirrels wouldn’t be able to climb the smooth metal sides.IMG_0948 It worked like a charm, all winter long  squirrel after squirrel tried the scale the slippery post and gave up after one or two attempts. 

 

Things were looking up. It wasn’t until late, late winter that the coons started to stir and we would see them scavenging the seed that the birds knocked out onto the ground.  No big deal there, I certainly didn’t mind them picking at the scraps.  Our confidence was indeed high that we had the problem licked. Funny thing about confidence though, it shatters easily. One morning a couple weeks back I was watching with delight as one big coon was cleaning up what little seed was on the ground. He looked at the post, looked up at the feeder and then to my amazement crouched as low as he could and sprang up about 2 foot high, bear hugging the slippery 4×4. He shimmied up a little, slid back a little, shimmied up a little, until he got high enough to get a grasp onto the feeder with one of his dexterous paws. If I had had a text bubble over my head it would have read “you S.O.B.!!”

Back to the drawing board I went. I came up with a quick fix. I drove #16 galvanized nails into the post and with my grinder cut the heads off and sharpened the shanks. I bent the nail downward to make sure they weren’t used as steps.  I figured it would be a painful lesson but they certainly wouldn’t be getting in the feeders now.  Wrong again, damn these coons are smart! 

It looks like I was going to have to spend some money on another design.IMG_0950  A quick visit to Home Depot and $40 bucks later I had a new plan.  My thinking is that with a narrower pole the coons ability to bear hug and shimmy up it will be greatly reduced.  I picked up a 4 foot length of 3/4 inch iron pipe and drove it in the ground about 2 foot down. I then took a 1″ inch piece of threaded pipe and cut it to 6 foot in length and screwed a metal flange on top of that.

IMG_0953That gave me a nice base to attach the feeder to. I slid the larger 1″ inch pipe over the 3/4 one that I drove into the ground and voila’  I was back in business. 

 

 

So far so good, I may just have my bird feeder coon-undrum licked this time.

Wish me luck I’ll probably need it !!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Brian McCreery says:

    Like to know is the Bird Feeder working?

  2. I got a chuckle while reading this article. I can definitely relate to the frustration of raccoons eating seed, and worse, destroying expensive bird feeders. After identifying that I had a raccoon problem last year, I put up a 4X4 and wrapped it with a 5′ section of galvanized vent pipe that was 6″ in diameter. That seemed to solve my problem… until back in late May when I woke one morning to find my $100 Brome bird feeder laying on the ground in pieces… totally empty, of course. I’ve witnessed many raccoon antics late at night after hearing a noise and turning on the outside light to see them climbing trees to get at various things. However, I did not witness the thing climbing up the slippery galvanized sheet metal to knock down my feeder. I just saw the evidence of fur and muddy paw prints smeared on the metal.

    I would ditch the 4X4 and try the method you went with, but I still have concern that raccoons could get to the feeder. You see, I also feed orioles and I have my grape jelly oriole feeder on a 7′ shepherd hook. To my amazement, I have seen the raccoon manage to climb the very skinny metal pole to reach the grape jelly on more than one occasion.

    If they keep it up, I’ll start swearing that they spawn wings.

    • MyNature Apps MyNature Apps says:

      No need for me to worry about the coons for awhile since a bear took out the whole feeder and pole. I won’t be able to put that back up till he hibernates.

  3. I solved a similar problem by hanging mine from a very high branch in an oak tree. Ground and red squirrels were jumping up to 8 feet from nearby branches. They would get a running start from the trunk and soar out to the feeder. Then curl up around the base and empty the contents. I was able to guess the height of another branch farther out and subtract the height I wanted my feeder (8-9 feet) and bought enough cable to get over the branch and back down to the feeder. I am far enough away from the tree and high enough so that the only the ony access is with flight or a short ladder that I use to fill it. I have enjoyed watching the critters realize that they just can’t make that leap. 2 years now with only bird access.

  4. Love the stories! We had a problem with squirrels and tried various means to keep them from getting up the pole or launching off the deck to the feeder. I affixed an aluminum pie pan around the metal post, only to hear a loud banging one morning as a determined squirrel was bashing his little head into the underside of it. His antics were humerous! He tried pulling himself over it, but slid off the edge every time. He won in the end with the head bunt trick. What he couldn’t get past was the pole greased up with Vaseline… fun to watch his efforts, though. It required daily application until he gave up. Wonder if that would work with raccoons??? I’m in a new location and it appears that they are somehow getting to my feeder at night… spilled seed in the morning, tracks in the snow… but, no sign that they’ve been on the branch above. The feeder is at least 4 feet above ground. Hmmm…

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