Birds aren't the only wild critters that enjoy eating bird seed -- other animals do as well. However, raccoons and skunks hanging around your bird feeder can be a nuisance. Not only can they cause harm to the birds, but they can scare them away, as well as eat all of the seeds. A few techniques are available that can help you keep pests away and allow the birds to enjoy their grub.
Things You'll Need
"No waste" bird seed
Perch your bird feeder on top of a pole. A bird feeder that is 6 to 8 feet off the ground is often difficult for raccoons and skunks to reach. Place a baffle -- a funnel-shaped device -- around the pole, about 2 to 3 feet off the ground and cover it with petroleum jelly. The baffle, coupled with the jelly, make climbing the pole and reaching the feeder nearly impossible for the pests.
Place a seed tray underneath your bird feeder. The tray collects any excess or discarded seeds and prevents them from falling to the ground, which often attracts the raccoons and skunks.
Fill your bird feeder with "no waste" or "seed only" bird seed. This bird seed mix typically only includes ingredients that birds tend to like, such as sunflower hearts and mulled millet, and excludes the filler components that many birds discard on the ground.
Pick up any discarded seeds or shells on the ground with your hands or with a shop vac. Removing the remnants can help keep the pests away.
Keep your yard trash food-free to avoid attracting the pests to your home. Always keep lids on your garbage cans and avoid feeding stray cats as well, as the raccoons and skunks will continue to trespass on your property. Baffles are often available at home and garden centers.