5 Strategies: How to Keep Raccoons Away from Bird Feeders

How to Keep Raccoons Away from Bird Feeders

Bird feeders are a popular way to attract a variety of beautiful birds to your yard, providing birdwatching enthusiasts with the joy of observing different species up close. However, bird feeders can also attract unwanted visitors, such as raccoons, who may not only deplete your bird food but also create a mess in the process.

In this blog post, we’ll explore effective strategies to keep raccoons away from your bird feeders.

How to Keep Raccoons Away from Bird Feeders?

To deter raccoons from raiding bird feeders follow these methods: 

Choose the Right Bird Feeder

Selecting the right bird feeder can make a significant difference in deterring raccoons. Opt for feeders with weight-sensitive mechanisms that close off access to the bird food when a certain weight is applied. Raccoons, being heavier than most birds, will find it challenging to access the feeder.

Install Baffles

Raccoons are skilled climbers and jumpers, but you can make it more difficult for them by installing baffles. Baffles are dome-shaped guards that can be placed above or below the feeder. This makes it nearly impossible for raccoons to reach the feeder without falling or losing their grip.

Elevate Your Bird Feeder

Mounting your bird feeder on a pole can be an effective way to keep raccoons at bay. Ensure the pole is smooth and lacks any footholds, making it difficult for raccoons to climb. Additionally, consider adding a baffle to the pole for added protection.

Use Squirrel-Proofing Techniques

Many of the techniques used to deter squirrels are also effective against raccoons. Invest in squirrel-proof bird feeders with features like adjustable perches or cages that allow smaller birds to access the food while preventing larger animals like raccoons from reaching it.

Avoid Ground-Level Feeders

Ground-level bird feeders are an open invitation for raccoons. To minimize the risk of attracting them, choose hanging or elevated feeders. This will discourage raccoons from foraging for spilled seeds on the ground.

Regularly Clean Up Spilled Seed

Raccoons are attracted to easy food sources, so it’s crucial to clean up any spilled birdseed promptly. Regularly sweep the area around the bird feeder and consider using a tray or platform beneath the feeder to catch falling seeds.

Use Things Raccoons Hate

To deter raccoons from bird feeders, employ strategies that exploit their aversions. Raccoons dislike strong odors, so placing ammonia-soaked rags near feeders can be effective. Spicy or pungent smells, like those from cayenne pepper or garlic, can serve as deterrents when applied in a homemade spray.

Motion-activated lights or sprinklers startle raccoons, as they are nocturnal and sensitive to sudden stimuli. Predator urine scents, available in commercial products, mimic natural threats and can create a fear response.

Table: Deterrent Strategies and Effectiveness

Deterrent StrategyDescriptionEffectiveness
Strategic Feeder PlacementPositioning feeders away from climbable structures.Effective in preventing raccoons from reaching.
Adjustable Feeder HeightsInstalling feeders at heights challenging for raccoons.Deters raccoons by limiting access.
Baffles or GuardsAdding obstacles to hinder raccoon climbing attempts.Effective in thwarting raccoon access.
Motion-Activated DevicesDevices that emit sounds or motion to scare raccoons.Provides an active deterrent, especially at night.
Choose the Right Bird FeederOpt for feeders with weight-sensitive mechanisms, closing off access to heavier animals like raccoons.Highly effective in limiting raccoon access.
Install BafflesDome-shaped guards placed above or below the feeder to make it difficult for raccoons to reach without falling.Significantly hinders raccoon climbing attempts.
Elevate Your Bird FeederMount feeders on smooth poles without footholds, adding a baffle for additional protection against raccoon access.Effective in making it challenging for raccoons.
Use Squirrel-Proofing TechniquesInvest in squirrel-proof bird feeders with features like adjustable perches or cages, preventing access to larger animals.Effective against both squirrels and raccoons.
Avoid Ground-Level FeedersOpt for hanging or elevated feeders to discourage raccoons from foraging on the ground for spilled seeds.Minimizes the risk of attracting raccoons.
Regularly Clean Up Spilled SeedPromptly clean up any spilled birdseed to eliminate easy food sources that attract raccoons.Reduces the likelihood of raccoon visits.
Use Things Raccoons HateEmploy strategies exploiting raccoons’ aversions, such as ammonia-soaked rags, spicy sprays, motion-activated devices, predator urine scents, and citrus smells.Various methods to deter raccoons effectively.

Do raccoons eat birds? 

Yes, raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and are known to eat birds. While birds may not be their primary source of food, raccoons are skilled climbers and can raid nests for eggs, nestlings, or even adult birds. They are particularly active during the night, making them adept at catching sleeping or roosting birds.

Additionally, raccoons are attracted to bird feeders, where they can consume seeds meant for birds and, in some cases, capture birds directly. Their adaptability and resourcefulness enable them to exploit various food sources, including birds, when the opportunity arises.

As a result, it’s important for bird enthusiasts to take preventive measures to protect their feathered friends from potential raccoon predation.

Do raccoons like birdseed?

Yes, raccoons are attracted to bird seed, and they often target bird feeders for a readily available food source. Sunflower seeds, being a popular and energy-rich component of many birdseed mixes, are particularly appealing to raccoons. Their agility and dexterity enable them to exploit feeders, sometimes leading to spillage or direct consumption of the seeds, making it necessary for bird enthusiasts to implement deterrent strategies to protect both the bird feed and the feathered visitors.

DIY raccoon-proof bird feeder 

By incorporating these materials and following the instructions, you can create a DIY raccoon-proof bird feeder that helps protect your birdseed from unwanted visitors.

Materials Required:

  • Bird feeder with a weight-sensitive mechanism or ability to be modified
  • Smooth pole for mounting
  • Baffle (dome-shaped guard)
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Level (optional)


  • Select or Modify Bird Feeder: Choose a bird feeder with a weight-sensitive mechanism or modify an existing feeder to include one. This mechanism should close off access when a certain weight (typically that of a raccoon) is applied.
  • Smooth Pole Mounting: Mount the bird feeder on a smooth pole. Smooth surfaces without footholds make it challenging for raccoons to climb. Ensure the pole is tall enough to prevent raccoons from reaching the feeder.
  • Install Baffle: Position a baffle above or below the feeder on the pole. The baffle should be dome-shaped and act as a guard against raccoons attempting to climb. Secure the baffle using screws and a screwdriver.
  • Securely Fasten Components: Ensure all components, including the weight-sensitive mechanism, feeder, pole, and baffle, are securely fastened. Tighten screws to prevent raccoons from dislodging or manipulating the feeder.
  • Strategic Placement: Place the raccoon-proof bird feeder away from structures that raccoons could use for climbing, such as trees or buildings. This reduces the likelihood of raccoons accessing the feeder from above.
  • Optional Leveling: Use a level to ensure the pole is upright and the feeder is level. This step is optional but contributes to the overall stability and functionality of the bird feeder.
  • Regular Maintenance: Periodically check and maintain the bird feeder to ensure all components are in working order. Fix any damage, and replenish birdseed as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About How to Keep Raccoons Away from Bird Feeders

Q1: What makes bird feeders attractive to raccoons?

A: Raccoons are attracted to bird feeders primarily because of the easily accessible food source. The seeds and grains intended for birds become an enticing and convenient meal for raccoons, especially during nighttime foraging.

Q2: Can raccoons climb any type of pole or post to reach bird feeders?

A: Raccoons are skilled climbers, but they struggle with smooth, slippery surfaces. To prevent them from reaching bird feeders, consider using poles without footholds or adding baffles to create a challenging climbing environment.

Q3: How effective are motion-activated devices in deterring raccoons from bird feeders?

A: Motion-activated devices, like lights or sprinklers, are generally effective in startling raccoons due to their nocturnal nature and sensitivity to sudden stimuli. These devices provide an active deterrent, making raccoons think twice before approaching the feeder.

Q4: Will strong odors, like ammonia or citrus, keep raccoons away from bird feeders?

A: Yes, raccoons dislike strong odors. Placing ammonia-soaked rags or using citrus-scented products near bird feeders can be effective in deterring raccoons, as they find these smells unpleasant.


Ceterring raccoons from bird feeders involves a combination of strategic measures to limit their access. From selecting the right bird feeder with weight-sensitive mechanisms to utilizing deterrents like baffles, motion-activated devices, and odors raccoons dislike, these methods collectively help create an environment less attractive to these opportunistic foragers. BRegular maintenance and adaptation of techniques ensure a harmonious coexistence, allowing both birds and humans to share outdoor spaces without unwanted interference from raccoons.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind racoonpet.com. My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.