Idea for protecting baby birds and new canes from squirrels

lucille(Houston)March 1, 2013

I've ordered some birdhouses and I don't want the squirrels to get any baby birds that might hatch someday.
There are 14" square wire grids, powdercoated metal, that companies make in a kit to make storage cubes. A few years back the guinea pig community started using the grids to make guinea pig homes. The kit comes with little connectors or one can use zip ties.
What about enclosing birdhouses with a grid cube (the openings are 1 1/2", enough for birds to get in but not squirrels) and also enclosing a tender new cane?

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TNY78(7a-East TN)

That actually sounds like a really good idea. While I don't have a ton of squirrels I do have other tree climbing pests (possums....grrr). I love having birdhouses on my property. I think there's nothing sweeter than seeing little baby birds stick there heads out of a bird house.

This may be a stupid question...but since I've never really had the squirrel problem...how are they pests to bird houses? Is it just by knocking them out of their birdhouses and eating their food? I initiallly had a terrible picture in my head of a carnivorous squirrel eating a baby bird...lol...funny in hindsight....I know better :)

Tammy

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:23PM
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lucille(Houston)

I do not have any birdhouses up, I'm still researching. But I think squirrels do eat baby birds.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 8:06PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

eewww! I just Googled and you're right Lucille, they do eat baby birds. I'll never look at a squirrel the same way again!

You may have already come across these options, but while looking for information about the killer squirrels, I also came across a couple of other good ideas for protecting your birdhouses once you put them up. One is putting a flat square piece of chicken wire horazontally under a birdhouse, if the bird house is mounted on a pole...a type of squirrel baffler I guess. They also sell inexpensive "predator protectors" online that prevent the squirrels and other pests from entering the nests. I guess you just have to outsmart them :)

Tammy

Here is a link that might be useful: Predator Protectors

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:07PM
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lucille(Houston)

I've seen the Predator Protectors, that's a good idea. But I think I'll try the little enclosures. Now that I've cut 2x4s for the picket fence frame, I'm starting to feel as of I can do some other carpentry, so maybe I will make an outdoor shelf with a bunch of enclosures on it with birdhouses in them. Something on top, I haven't figured out what, so cats would not sit on top of the enclosures, they could not get in but I'm sure they would make the residents nervous.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 7:30AM
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lucille(Houston)

It is meant to be. I went to Home Depot today (they have this great deal where you can order online and then just go to the store and it will be ready, so I needed mulch). While they were loading my SUV I went to the scrap lumber pile. One of the employees asked what I was looking for and I told him about the birdhouse shelf. He pulled a $45 piece of thick looks like birch veneer plywood and showed me where it was slightly damaged on a couple of feet of edge, and he even cut it in half lengthwise for me, so that is going to be my 16' shelf.
I could set it horizontally and put the grid cubes on it, or mount it vertically and nail them on.
I did not realize plywood could cost so much ( since it was damaged I got it for $15 or so), but obviously this project was meant to be.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:59AM
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bluegirl_gw

Oh yeah, squirrels can be big-time baby bird eaters. They used to clean out nests of doves & cardinals in my old yard. A friend of mine even witnessed the little creeps eating baby bluejay chicks while the parents helplessly shrieked & dive-bombed them. She had a major squirrel-hunt afterwards.

Basically, anything that can get to babies will eat them. Squirrels are well-adapted to do so.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:10AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Wow, I'd never heard about squirrels doing that. You learn something new every day here!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:09PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Does this mean I can start shooting them with my BB gun? My great grandfather ATE squirrels and POSSUMS.
Southern tradition.
That is gross. But I guess it is the "circle of life".
Susan

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 5:46PM
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bluegirl_gw

I hate to advocate killing anything tho I must admit to LOATHING squirrels because of their bird predation. My dad & brother loved feeding them & we rescued a number of babies the male squirrels threw our of their nests. "Mother" nature is a real "mother" all right--bloody in tooth & claw. I used to pop the mean males & other predators with a non-lethal pop in the butt with a lightly pumped pellet gun.

My friend was an unabashed hunter but she always ate her game- loved squirrel. I'd have to be pretty hungry to eat possum, though, after watching them crawling around inside of cow carcasses :-p

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Tuggy3(9b NorCal)

Squirrels will kill adult birds at feeders also. When I lived around them I had squirrel baffles on the poles and all my feeders had grids. My platform feeder had a 1" grid over it also to keep out the starlings and cowbirds that bully the song birds. Keeping the feeders and birdhouses quite far from fences and trees helps also. Squirrels can jump really far. I have a friend who calls them flying rats. I also had a clear dome over one niger feeder.

It's a lot of paraphernalia but I felt like I had to protect them if I was going to lure birds to the feeders. Here we have trouble with hawks that sit on the fence and wait for the quail and small birds to get distracted. There's kind of a downside to feeders and bird baths I guess. Birdhouses are easier to protect.

Sounds like you have a good plan for the houses. So nice that you are looking out for the babies.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 1:41AM
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sadie_pnw

We've had a snake slither up a porch railing and eat baby barn swallows nesting up under the eaves too.

One idea we use is to thread birdhouses onto 10 foot metal poles which are sunk into the flower beds to keep them away from squirrels. I don't think a snake could slither up, either.

There are so many trees here I think they're more decoration than useful birdhouses. In Alabama, though, the birds used them to nest in.

In this picture you can see the threading mechanism attaching the birdhouse onto the metal pole -

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:00AM
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lucille(Houston)

Since the premade grids are 14", do y'all think it would be OK to put two houses in one grid cube? With the little houses and the gourds there are going to end up being a number of birdhouses.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:04AM
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