Even if you love animals, it’s frustrating when greedy squirrels and raccoons empty bird feeders in a few short hours. The common bowl-shaped baffles are pretty good at keeping squirrels out, but raccoons have no trouble climbing right over them.
If squirrels or raccoons are eating you out of house and home, here’s a simple solution. This DIY raccoon and squirrel baffle is easy to make, inexpensive, and is sure to befuddle even the craftiest of critters.
What You’ll Need
I love this project, because not only does it solve a really big problem, but you can buy the parts needed at most any home improvement center. To make this baffle, you will need:
- Stovepipe: One section of 6” diameter by 24” long stovepipe. Stovepipe comes in black, but you can also buy galvanized duct pipe and paint it yourself.
- Stovepipe End Cap: One 6” diameter end cap that fits on stovepipe.
- Sheet Metal Screws: 3 to 4 sheet metal screws, 1/2″ long or shorter.
- Hose Clamp: One hose clamp, small enough to fit snugly around your bird feeder pole.
- Vise, clamp, or pliers
- Large Drill Bit or Hole Saw: A metal cutting drill bit or hole saw the diameter (or slightly larger) of the feeder pole.
- Small Drill Bit: A metal cutting drill bit slightly smaller than the sheet metal screws to drill pilot holes.
How To Build The Baffle
Making the baffle is pretty straightforward, with drilling or cutting a smooth hole in the end cap being the only operation that takes a bit of care to get right.
Baffle with hole cut in cap.
Step 1: Drill Hole
Clamp the end cap firmly in a vise, or hold it with pliers. Don’t hold it with your hands as the drill bit can easily slip and cut you. Using the drill bit or hole saw, carefully drill a hole in the center of the end cap (see How to Find the Center of a Circle). If your pole is square, you may want to opt for drilling a small pilot hole, then using a saber saw or metal shears to cut the required shape.
Step 2: Fit End Cap
Hook the stovepipe together, and fit it snugly inside the end cap.
Step 3: Drill Pilot Holes
Lay the baffle carefully on its side, and drill pilot holes through the sides of the end cap, making sure the holes goes through both end cap and stovepipe.
Hose Clamp on feeder pole.
Step 4: Attach Screws
Tighten the sheet metal screws to hold the end cap and stovepipe together.
Step 5: Slip Baffle Over Pole
With the baffle pointed down like a bell, slip the feeder pole through the hole in the center. The top of the baffle should be about 4’ to 5’ off the ground. Mark the pole at the top of the baffle, and raise the baffle out of the way.
Step 6: Attach Hose Clamp
Using the screwdriver, attach the hose clamp to the feeder pole at your mark.
Step 7: Install Baffle
Slip the baffle back down so that it rests on the hose clamp, and you’re done!
Finished squirrel and raccoon baffle installed on bird feeder pole.
Enjoy Feeding the Birds!
This baffle really works – the feeders featured in the photos have been consistently raid-free since installing it. The first days provided some enjoyment as squirrels and raccoons made determined attempts to get climb over the baffle. The squirrels repeatedly crawled up inside it and got stuck, and the raccoons simply couldn’t reach around it.
By the end of the first week, the baffle had some scratches, where it appears that a squirrel tried a mad leap and ended up sliding down the outside of the baffle. I wish I had seen that – who said foiling the critters can’t be fun?
- DIY Squirrel and Raccoon Bird Feeder Guard (video)
- Wild Bird Feeding Basics (article)
- Landscaping Tips for a Bird-Friendly Yard (article)
- How to Make a Homemade Birdbath Dripper for Your Yard (article)
- How to Make a Suet Bird Feeder (article)