How To Keep Chipmunks Off Your Bird Feeders

Chipmunks climbing on feeders and eating all the seed is a common nuisance for bird lovers. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: install a squirrel baffle, use weight sensitive perches, and clean up spilled seeds. Read on for a full guide on deterring these agile critters humanely.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, you’ll learn chipmunk behavior, feeder adjustments to exclude them, and landscaping and cleanup tips to make your yard less appealing.

Understanding Chipmunk Behavior

Before learning how to keep chipmunks off your bird feeders, it’s important to understand their behavior. Chipmunks are small, squirrel-like rodents that are known for their energetic and curious nature.

They are most commonly found in wooded areas or near gardens where there is an abundant food supply.

Attracted to Food Sources

Chipmunks are primarily herbivores and have a diverse diet that includes nuts, seeds, berries, and fruits. They are particularly attracted to bird feeders because they provide an easy and accessible source of food.

Chipmunks will often scurry up trees, jump onto feeders, and help themselves to the seeds intended for birds.

To discourage chipmunks from visiting your bird feeders, it’s important to take steps to minimize their access to food. One effective method is to use feeders with built-in baffles or cages that prevent chipmunks from reaching the seeds.

Additionally, placing the feeders on poles with squirrel guards can also help keep chipmunks at bay.

Agile Climbers and Jumpers

Chipmunks are incredibly agile climbers and jumpers, making it challenging to keep them away from your bird feeders. They can easily scale trees and leap several feet in one bound. This ability allows them to reach feeders that may be located at a considerable height or distance from potential launching points.

One option to deter chipmunks is to create a physical barrier around your bird feeders. You can do this by placing a metal cone-shaped baffle or PVC pipe around the feeder pole. This will make it difficult for chipmunks to climb up and access the seeds.

Another alternative is to hang the feeders using thin wire or fishing line, suspending them away from any nearby surfaces that chipmunks can jump from.

It’s important to note that chipmunks can still be persistent and resourceful, so it may take some trial and error to find the most effective method for keeping them away from your bird feeders. By understanding their behavior and implementing these strategies, you can create a more bird-friendly environment while minimizing chipmunk interference.

Using Feeders Designed to Exclude

One effective way to keep chipmunks off your bird feeders is by using feeders specifically designed to exclude them. These feeders are equipped with features that make it difficult for chipmunks to access the birdseed, while still allowing birds to feed comfortably. Here are some popular options:

Squirrel Baffles

Squirrel baffles are dome-shaped devices that can be attached to the pole or hanging mechanism of your bird feeder. They create a physical barrier that prevents chipmunks from climbing up to the feeder.

The smooth, curved surface of the baffle makes it nearly impossible for chipmunks to gain a foothold. Squirrel baffles are highly effective in deterring chipmunks and are commonly used to protect bird feeders from a variety of pests.

Weight Sensitive Perches

Another option is to use bird feeders with weight-sensitive perches. These perches are designed to collapse or close off the feeding ports when a heavier animal, like a chipmunk, tries to access the feeder.

This mechanism ensures that only lighter birds can feed while preventing chipmunks from getting to the birdseed. Weight sensitive perches are a great choice if you want to specifically target chipmunks without affecting other wildlife.

Smooth Metal Poles

Using smooth metal poles for your bird feeders can also be effective in keeping chipmunks at bay. Unlike wooden poles or trees, chipmunks find it difficult to climb up smooth surfaces. By using a metal pole with no footholds or rough areas, you can make it nearly impossible for chipmunks to reach your bird feeders.

It’s important to ensure that the pole is securely installed to prevent any wobbling or tilting that chipmunks could use to their advantage.

When using feeders designed to exclude chipmunks, it’s important to regularly clean and maintain them to ensure their effectiveness. Additionally, placing the feeders away from trees or other structures that chipmunks can use as launching points will further discourage their presence.

By implementing these exclusionary measures, you can enjoy the sight of beautiful birds at your feeders without the interference of chipmunks.

Discouraging with Unappealing Food

One effective way to keep chipmunks off your bird feeders is by offering them food that they find unappealing. By providing alternative options that chipmunks dislike, you can encourage them to stay away from your feeders.

Safflower and Nyjer Seed

Chipmunks are not particularly fond of safflower and nyjer seeds, making them a great choice for discouraging these critters. These seeds are commonly found in bird feed mixes and are known to be less appealing to chipmunks.

By using feeders that dispense only safflower or nyjer seeds, you can reduce the chances of chipmunks stealing food intended for your feathered friends.

Did you know? Safflower seeds are also a favorite among many species of birds, including cardinals, finches, and chickadees. So by using safflower seeds, you not only deter chipmunks but also attract a wide variety of beautiful birds to your feeders!

Dried Peppers and Chili Powder

Another effective method to discourage chipmunks is by incorporating dried peppers and chili powder into your bird feed. Chipmunks have a strong aversion to the spicy nature of these ingredients, making them less likely to consume the food.

You can sprinkle a small amount of chili powder on the birdseed or hang dried peppers near the feeders to deter chipmunks.

Pro tip: Be cautious when handling and using chili powder as it can cause irritation if it comes into contact with your eyes or skin. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling it.

Remember, it may take some time for the chipmunks to realize that the food you are offering is unappealing to them. Be patient and consistent in your efforts, and you will likely see a decrease in chipmunk activity around your bird feeders.

Strategic Feeder Placement

Slippery Feeder Poles

One effective way to keep chipmunks off your bird feeders is by strategically placing them on slippery poles. Chipmunks are excellent climbers, but they struggle to maintain their grip on smooth surfaces.

By using a pole with a slippery material, such as PVC or metal, you can make it difficult for chipmunks to climb up and access the bird feeders. You can even add a squirrel baffle or cone-shaped guard below the feeder to further deter chipmunks from reaching the food.

Just make sure to position the baffle low enough so that chipmunks can’t jump from nearby objects onto the feeder.

Far from Jumping Points

Another important consideration when it comes to strategic feeder placement is to position the feeders far away from jumping points. Chipmunks are skilled jumpers and can leap significant distances to reach their desired target.

To prevent them from accessing your bird feeders, place them at least 10 feet away from structures, trees, or any other objects that chipmunks could use as launching pads. This will make it much more challenging for chipmunks to reach the feeders, as they will have to rely solely on climbing.

By implementing these strategic feeder placement techniques, you can greatly reduce chipmunk activity around your bird feeders and provide a safe haven for your feathered friends.

Yard Cleanup and Landscaping

Keeping chipmunks away from your bird feeders requires not only implementing effective deterrents but also taking steps to maintain a clean and well-kept yard. Here are two important aspects of yard cleanup and landscaping that can help keep chipmunks at bay:

Remove Brush Piles

Chipmunks are attracted to areas with plenty of hiding spots, such as brush piles. These piles of branches, leaves, and debris provide the perfect shelter for chipmunks to nest and hide from predators.

To discourage chipmunks from coming near your bird feeders, it’s essential to regularly remove any brush piles in your yard.

Start by gathering any fallen branches or twigs and disposing of them properly. If you have a compost pile, make sure it is securely covered to prevent chipmunks from using it as a hiding spot. Additionally, trim any overgrown bushes or shrubs that could provide cover for chipmunks.

Control Weeds

Weeds not only compete with your plants for nutrients and water but also create hiding places for chipmunks. By keeping your yard free of weeds, you can make it less attractive to chipmunks.

Regularly mow your lawn to keep the grass short and discourage weed growth. Use a weed killer or pull weeds by hand to prevent them from taking over your yard. By maintaining a weed-free environment, you reduce the likelihood of chipmunks taking up residence near your bird feeders.

Remember, a clean and well-maintained yard not only helps deter chipmunks but also contributes to the overall health and aesthetics of your outdoor space. By implementing these yard cleanup and landscaping practices, you can create an environment that is less appealing to chipmunks and more enjoyable for you and your feathered friends.

Repellents and Deterrents

Fox and Coyote Urine

One effective method for keeping chipmunks away from your bird feeders is to use fox or coyote urine. These natural repellents emit a scent that mimics the presence of a predator, which can discourage chipmunks from coming near your feeders.

You can purchase fox or coyote urine from gardening or hunting stores, and then apply it around the base of your bird feeders. The scent will create a natural barrier and deter chipmunks from approaching the area.

Ultrasonic Devices

Another option to consider is using ultrasonic devices to deter chipmunks. These devices emit high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans but irritating to chipmunks. When placed near your bird feeders, these devices can help keep chipmunks at bay.

Ultrasonic devices are a humane and eco-friendly way to discourage chipmunks without causing them harm. You can find a variety of ultrasonic devices specifically designed for deterring small rodents like chipmunks.

Pro Tip: It’s important to note that while repellents and deterrents can be effective, they may not provide foolproof protection against chipmunks. These critters are resourceful and may still find ways to access your bird feeders.

It’s best to use a combination of methods and regularly monitor your feeders to ensure they remain chipmunk-free.


Persistant chipmunks can be tricky to evict from feeders, but with some clever adjustments you can outsmart them. Try a combo of exlusion feeders, distasteful seeds, strategic placement, yard cleanup, and chemical deterrents.

Observe when chipmunks strike and make feeders difficult to access during that time. With some experiments and diligence, you can both enjoy feeding birds and keep chipmunks where they belong…on the ground!

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