How To Keep Raccoons Away From Bird Feeders

Raccoons are clever, persistent pests notorious for ravaging bird feeders. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: use baffles, avoid corn, and install a pole with a predator deterrent. Read on for a full guide on natural, humane tactics to outsmart raccoons.

In this approximately 3000 word article, you’ll learn raccoon behavior, feeder adjustments, landscaping tips, and deterrents to train raccoons to move on.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior

Raccoons are known for their mischievous nature and their love for rummaging through trash cans. However, they are also notorious for raiding bird feeders, much to the frustration of bird enthusiasts. To effectively keep raccoons away from your bird feeders, it is important to understand their behavior and what attracts them in the first place.

Nocturnal Foragers

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, which means they are most active during the night. This is important to note because it gives you an idea of when they are most likely to target your bird feeders.

If you often find your feeders empty in the morning, it’s a clear indication that raccoons have been feasting on the seeds and suet overnight. Taking this nocturnal behavior into account, you can implement measures to prevent raccoons from accessing your feeders during their active hours.

Intelligence and Dexterity

Raccoons are highly intelligent creatures with a remarkable level of dexterity. They are known for their problem-solving skills and ability to manipulate objects with their paws. This makes it challenging to keep them away from bird feeders, as they can figure out how to bypass simple barriers or locks.

One effective way to deter raccoons is by using a baffle or a cone-shaped guard around the feeder pole. Raccoons can’t climb upside down or navigate through narrow spaces, so these obstacles can be quite effective.

However, it’s important to ensure that the baffle is positioned at a sufficient height, as raccoons can jump and climb to reach the feeder if it’s too close to the ground.

Another option is to invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder that is designed to keep out not only squirrels but also raccoons and other larger animals. These feeders usually incorporate mechanisms that close off the feeding ports when a certain weight is applied, preventing raccoons from accessing the food.

It’s worth noting that raccoons are persistent creatures, so it may take some trial and error to find the best solution for keeping them away from your bird feeders. Don’t get discouraged if one method doesn’t work right away – keep experimenting until you find the most effective deterrent for your specific situation.

Choosing Raccoon-Proof Feeders

Pole Baffles

Raccoons are clever and agile creatures, so choosing the right bird feeder is essential to keep them at bay. One effective option is to use pole baffles. These are dome-shaped devices that are placed on the pole supporting the bird feeder.

The slick surface of the baffle makes it difficult for raccoons to climb up and reach the bird feeder. It acts as a barrier, preventing them from accessing the food. Pole baffles are a popular choice among bird enthusiasts as they are easy to install and highly effective in deterring raccoons.

They come in various sizes and can be purchased online or at local gardening stores.

If you’re looking to purchase a pole baffle, check out They offer a wide range of pole baffles designed specifically to keep raccoons away from bird feeders. Their products are highly rated by customers and have proven to be successful in preventing raccoon intrusions.

Cage or Tube Feeders

Another effective option for keeping raccoons away from bird feeders is to use cage or tube feeders. These types of feeders have small openings that only allow birds to access the food while preventing larger animals, such as raccoons, from reaching it.

Cage feeders are enclosed in a wire mesh that allows birds to enter and eat, but keeps raccoons out. Tube feeders, on the other hand, have small feeding ports that are too narrow for raccoons to squeeze their paws through.

When choosing a cage or tube feeder, look for ones that are made with sturdy materials and have secure locking mechanisms. Raccoons have been known to try and break into feeders by chewing or prying them open.

Investing in a high-quality feeder will ensure its durability and effectiveness in keeping raccoons away. Check out Wild Birds Unlimited for a wide selection of raccoon-proof feeders. They offer a range of options that are designed to withstand raccoon attempts to access the bird food.

Avoiding Raccoon-Favored Foods

Raccoons are notorious for their ability to raid bird feeders in search of a tasty meal. To keep these clever critters away from your feeders, it is important to avoid using foods that raccoons find particularly appealing.

Remove Corn and Nuts

Raccoons have a strong affinity for corn and nuts, so it’s best to avoid using these foods in your bird feeders. Corn, in particular, is a favorite of raccoons and can quickly attract them to your yard. Instead, opt for birdseed mixes that do not contain corn or nuts.

This will help deter raccoons and ensure that the food is reserved for your feathered friends.

Use Hot Peppers

Another effective way to keep raccoons away from your bird feeders is to use hot peppers. Raccoons dislike the spicy taste of peppers, so adding some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to your birdseed can be an effective deterrent.

Be sure to mix the pepper flakes thoroughly with the birdseed to ensure that the taste is evenly distributed. This method is safe for birds, as they are not affected by the spicy flavor.

Additionally, if you have a squirrel problem as well, consider using squirrel-proof bird feeders that are specifically designed to prevent raccoons and squirrels from accessing the food. These feeders often feature mechanisms such as weight-activated perches or cages to keep out unwanted visitors.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping raccoons away from your bird feeders. By avoiding raccoon-favored foods and using deterrents like hot peppers, you can create a bird-friendly environment that raccoons will be less likely to invade.

Strategic Feeder Placement

When it comes to keeping raccoons away from bird feeders, strategic feeder placement is key. By considering the location and design of your bird feeders, you can discourage raccoons from accessing them.

Slippery Poles

One effective method is to use slippery poles for your bird feeders. Raccoons are excellent climbers, but they struggle when faced with a slippery surface. You can achieve this by applying a layer of petroleum jelly or using a PVC pipe with a smooth surface.

By making it difficult for raccoons to grip onto the pole, you can deter them from reaching the bird feeder.

Another option is to install a baffle, which is a cone-shaped device that can be placed below the bird feeder. The smooth surface of the baffle makes it difficult for raccoons to climb up and access the feeder.

Make sure the baffle is positioned at a height that is unreachable for raccoons to jump onto the feeder from above.

Visible, Open Areas

Placing your bird feeder in a visible and open area can also help deter raccoons. Raccoons prefer to feed in secluded areas where they feel safe from predators. By placing the feeder in an open area, it becomes more exposed and less appealing to raccoons.

They are less likely to approach the feeder if they feel vulnerable to potential threats.

Additionally, placing the feeder away from any structures or trees can prevent raccoons from using them as launching pads to access the feeder. If possible, consider placing the feeder on a tall, sturdy pole that cannot be easily climbed.

Remember, raccoons are intelligent and resourceful creatures, so it may take some trial and error to find the most effective placement for your bird feeder. Observing their behavior and making necessary adjustments will help you find the best solution.

Use of Repellents

Predator Urine

One effective method to keep raccoons away from bird feeders is by using predator urine. Raccoons are cautious animals and tend to avoid areas that are marked by the scent of predators. Predator urine, such as that from coyotes or foxes, can be purchased online or in stores specializing in wildlife control.

By strategically placing the urine near your bird feeders, you can create a natural deterrent that will help keep raccoons at bay. It is important to note that predator urine needs to be reapplied regularly to maintain its effectiveness.

So, make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Another effective way to deter raccoons from your bird feeders is by using motion-activated sprinklers. These devices are equipped with motion sensors that detect the presence of animals and activate a sprinkler system, spraying water in the direction of the intruder.

Raccoons are generally startled by sudden bursts of water and will quickly learn to stay away from the area. Motion-activated sprinklers are safe for both animals and humans and can be easily installed in your garden or near your bird feeders.

They are also adjustable, allowing you to customize the range and sensitivity of the motion sensor according to your specific needs.

When using repellents, it is important to keep in mind that raccoons are intelligent creatures and may eventually become accustomed to certain deterrents. Therefore, it is recommended to rotate between different types of repellents or combine multiple methods to increase their effectiveness and keep the raccoons guessing.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to regularly clean your bird feeders and remove any spilled seeds or food scraps, as these can attract raccoons and other unwanted wildlife.

Nighttime Deterrents

When it comes to keeping raccoons away from bird feeders, implementing nighttime deterrents can be highly effective. Raccoons are primarily nocturnal creatures, so targeting their activity during the nighttime hours can help discourage them from accessing your bird feeders.


Noisemakers can be a great way to deter raccoons from approaching your bird feeders at night. Consider using devices that emit loud sounds or create sudden noises when triggered. This can startle raccoons and make them think twice about approaching your feeders.

There are various options available in the market, ranging from motion-activated devices to wind chimes and even ultrasonic repellents. Motion-activated sprinklers can also be an effective deterrent, as they spray water when an animal gets too close.

This not only scares away raccoons but also helps to keep your bird feeders dry.


Another effective nighttime deterrent for raccoons is using lights around your bird feeders. Raccoons are known to be shy and cautious animals, and they prefer to stay away from well-lit areas. By installing motion-activated lights near your feeders, you can create an environment that raccoons find uncomfortable and unattractive.

LED lights are a popular choice for this purpose, as they are energy-efficient and have a long lifespan. These lights can be set to turn on when they detect motion, ensuring that raccoons are met with a sudden burst of light when they approach the area.

This unexpected illumination can startle them and discourage them from coming back.

It’s important to note that while nighttime deterrents can be effective, they may not guarantee complete elimination of raccoon activity. Raccoons are intelligent animals and can adapt to certain deterrents over time. Thus, it’s advisable to use a combination of strategies to maximize effectiveness.


Raccoons are extremely smart and difficult to evict once they’ve camped out at a feeder. But with the right equipment like baffle-protected poles and cage feeders, plus strategic use of repellents, you can reclaim your bird buffet. Be vigilant at dusk and dawn when raccoons are most active.

With some persistence and crafty techniques, you can enjoy a raccoon-free feeding station.

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