20 Effective Ways to Keep Chipmunks Away from Bird Feeder

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Protect your bird feeders and enjoy watching birds without any disturbance

How to keep Chipmunks Away from Bird Feeders

Are you tired of chipmunks raiding your bird feeder? These critters can quickly become a nuisance, stealing food meant for the guest birds in the backyard. Not to mention, they can cause damage to the bird feeder itself. Protecting the birds’ food source is important, but how can we keep these rodents at bay? Fortunately, there are several effective methods to prevent chipmunks from accessing your bird feeder.

We’ve got your back when it comes to protecting your bird-watching experience. Whether you prefer special feeder versions or natural deterrents, we’ve got you covered. Here are some practical ways to keep those pesky critters at bay.

1. Use Spicy Food as a Deterrent for Chipmunks

Adding spice to birdseed

Spicy food is one way to keep raiding chipmunks at bay of your bird feeder. Spicy food is an inexpensive way to keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder. You don’t need any special equipment or expensive products; you only need some cayenne pepper or hot sauce, which can be found at any grocery store. Adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce to birdseed can deter chipmunks and squirrels from eating it. The spicy taste will not harm birds but discourage other animals from eating it.

Experiment with the amount of spice

You may need to experiment with the amount of spice added until you find the right balance. Too much spice could make the birds avoid the feeder altogether, while too little might not affect the chipmunks. Start by adding a small spice and gradually increasing it until you see results.

Other spicy foods

In addition to adding spice directly to birdseed, there are other ways to use spicy food as a deterrent for chipmunks. Here are some ideas:

  • Nuts: Mix nuts with cayenne pepper or chili powder before putting them in a squirrel-proof container.
  • Suet: Add cayenne pepper or chili powder to the suet before hanging it up.
  • Bark butter: Spread bark butter on tree trunks near your bird feeder, mixed with cayenne pepper.
  • Smell: Place cotton balls soaked in cinnamon oil around your bird feeder. The strong smell will deter chipmunks.

2. Coles Hot Pepper Sunflower Seeds as a Deterrent for Chipmunks

Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds are a unique blend of sunflower chips, safflower seeds, roasted peanuts, pecans, and hot pepper products designed to deter chipmunks and squirrels from eating bird seeds. The secret ingredient in these seeds is capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in chili peppers.

Cole's HM20 Hot Meats Bird Seed

Cole’s HM20 Hot Meats Bird Seed

A mixture of food grade chili concentrate and sunflower meats effectively deters chipmunks and also attracts more birds.

How to use Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds

Using Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds is easy! Replace your regular birdseed with the hot pepper version. You can also mix the seeds with your current blend to introduce them gradually.

It’s important to note that while these seeds are safe for birds, they may still be spicy enough to cause discomfort if ingested in large quantities. If you have a particularly sensitive bird species visiting your feeder, avoiding using hot pepper products altogether may be best.

How do they work?

Capsaicin causes a burning sensation in mammals’ mouths but does not affect birds’ taste buds. When chipmunks eat the Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds, they experience discomfort and learn to associate that discomfort with the bird feeder. Over time, they will avoid the area altogether.

Are they effective?

Yes! Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds effectively keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder without harming them. However, it’s important to note that they may not work for all types of rodents. Some particularly determined animals may continue to eat the birdseed despite experiencing discomfort.

Other options are available if the Coles hot pepper sunflower seeds aren’t working for your situation. Here are a few ideas:

Red pepper flakes: Sprinkle red pepper flakes around the base of your bird feeder or mix them into your birdseed.

Black oil sunflower: Use black oil sunflower instead of striped sunflower seed. It has a thinner shell that’s harder for rodents to crack open.

Nuts: If you’re feeling generous, put roasted peanuts or pecans in another part of your yard to distract chipmunks from your bird feeder.

Hot pepper bark butter: This spreadable suet is infused with hot peppers and can be used as a deterrent on its own or mixed into other seed blends.

WBU hot pepper products: Wild Birds Unlimited offers a variety of hot pepper products, including suet cakes, cylinder feeders, and seed blends.

3. Trim Shrubbery Around Your Feeder to Reduce Hiding Places for Chipmunks

If you have a bird feeder in your backyard, you already know that chipmunks are notorious for stealing bird food and scaring off birds from the feeder. One way to keep them away is by trimming shrubbery around your feeder.

Trimming Shrubbery Around Your Feeder Reduces Hiding Places, making it less attractive for rodents to visit. Removing branches, bark, trunks, and wood from around your feeder area creates an open space where it’s easier to spot unwanted visitors quickly.

Regular shrubbery maintenance around your feeder is essential to keep chipmunks away. Make sure to trim back any overgrown branches or bushes that could provide cover for rodents. You should also remove fallen tree nuts or other food sources that might attract them. Here are some tips on how to maintain shrubbery around your bird feeder:

  • Use pruning shears or a saw to trim back overgrown branches.
  • Remove any dead or diseased branches.
  • Cut back bushes that are too close to the feeder.
  • Clear out any debris, such as fallen leaves or twigs.
  • Rake up any tree nuts or other food sources that have fallen to the ground.

4. Set Up a Separate Feeding Station

Bird feeders also attract other animals like squirrels, raccoons, and chipmunks. While squirrels and raccoons can be a nuisance for bird lovers, chipmunks are cute little creatures that can be fun to watch. But if they start eating all the birdseed or scaring away the birds, consider setting up a feeding station for them away from your bird feeders.

Setting up a separate feeding station away from your bird feeders can help reduce competition between birds and rodents for food sources. This will make it less likely for chipmunks to visit your bird feeder. You can ensure they are not competing with other animals for food by providing them with their habitat.

How to Set Up a Feeding Station for Chipmunks

Setting up a feeding station for chipmunks is easy and affordable. Here’s what you need:

A platform feeder or tray: You can use any flat surface at least 2 feet off the ground and hold food. A wooden board, a plastic tray, or a metal sheet will do.

Food: You can offer chipmunks a variety of foods they like, such as seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, or vegetables. Avoid feeding them junk food or processed snacks that are not healthy for them.

Location: Choose a spot in your yard away from bird feeders but still visible from your house or deck. You can place the feeding station near bushes or trees where chipmunks can hide and feel safe.

Here are some tips for setting up and maintaining a chipmunk feeding station:

Keep it clean: Clean the platform feeder regularly to prevent mold growth or bacterial contamination. Use mild soap and water and rinse well.

Refill it often: Check the feeder daily and refill it when it’s empty or almost empty. Chipmunks have high metabolisms and need to eat frequently.

Place the Feeding Station in an Unlikely Place: Make sure that this feeding station is far enough away from your bird feeders so that rodents cannot jump or climb onto them. Place it near some trees or bushes where the chipmunks feel more comfortable. This will encourage them to stay in their designated area and leave your bird feeder alone.

Provide Different Types of Food: Chipmunks are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Their feeding station provides different types of food such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, insects, and even small amounts of protein-rich foods like cooked chicken or scrambled eggs. This will ensure that they are getting a balanced diet.

Keep the Feeding Station Clean: Just like with your bird feeder, keeping the feeding station for chipmunks clean is important. Regularly remove any uneaten food and clean the feeder with soap and water. This will prevent mold and bacteria from growing and ensure the animals are not eating spoiled food.

5. Use Chipmunk Proof Bird Feeder

The easiest way to keep them away is by using a chipmunk-proof bird feeder, which also must be chew-proof. Avoid using wood or light plastic feeders, as chipmunks easily damage these materials.

You can purchase an adjustable weight feeder, which will close the shroud when the chipmunk lands on the feeder. It will detect their weight and close the shroud. Plus, you can use a flipper mechanism feeder. This type of feeder provides an excellent ride to chipmunks when they try to access the food without harming them.

You can also use the squirrel-proof feeder as chipmunks are like squirrels’ distant cousins. Below are my favorite three best chipmunk proof bird feeders which might help you to keep them away:

6. Install a Net, Seed Tray, or Platform to Catch Spilled Seed

Installing a seed tray is one of the easiest ways to keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder. A seed tray is designed to catch any spilled seed from the feeder and Keep the ground clean. This prevents seeds from accumulating on the ground, which can attract chipmunks. It also makes it easier for you to clean up any spilled seed around your feeder.

When choosing a seed tray, make sure it is large enough to catch all the seeds that fall out of your feeder. You can also use a large tray hanger if you have a bigger feeder. The hanger will allow you to attach the tray securely under your bird feeder. You can follow the guide to make a homemade seed catcher.

7. Use a Fishing Line to Hang Your Feeder

Another way to keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder is by hanging it with a fishing line. Chipmunks are excellent climbers who can easily climb poles or trees to reach your bird feeder. However, they will need help climbing up the fishing line as it is slippery.

To hang your bird feeder with a fishing line, tie one end of the line securely around the center of the bird feeder. Tie the other end around a sturdy branch or pole high above the ground.

8. Choose Light Plastic Feeders

If you’re looking for an effective solution that doesn’t require any additional equipment, consider using light plastic feeders. These feeders are less attractive to chipmunks as they are not strong enough to support their weight.

When choosing a plastic feeder, make sure it has no sharp edges or corners where chipmunks could chew through them.

9. Use Platforms Instead of Hanging Feeders

If you’re having trouble keeping chipmunks away from your hanging bird feeders, consider using platforms instead. A platform provides a stable base for your feeder and prevents it from swinging, which can attract chipmunks.

To install a platform, choose a sturdy location to place your feeder. Attach the platform securely to the ground using stakes or screws. Then, place your feeder on top of the platform.

10. Clean the Area Beneath Your Bird Feeders Regularly

One easy way to keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder is to regularly clean up any spilled seed around the area. When birds eat from the feeder, they often drop or spill seeds on the ground below. If left unattended, these seeds can attract rodents like chipmunks.

No matter what type of bird feeder you use, it’s essential to keep it clean. A dirty feeder can attract pests and diseases that can harm birds. It can also make your feeder more attractive to chipmunks.

Remove any remaining seed from the tray or platform to clean your bird feeder. Use warm soapy water to wash the feeder thoroughly. Rinse it with clean water and let it dry completely before refilling it with fresh seed.

11. Use DIY Impenetrable Guards or Barriers

If you’re handy with tools and have some experience working with metal or wood products, you can make your own barrier around your bird feeder. One way is to use metal mesh wrapped around the pole or tree trunk. This mesh should be small enough so rodents cannot squeeze through but large enough so birds can still access the feeder.

Another option is to create a wooden platform around the feeder’s base using logs or wood planks. This will create a barrier between the ground and the feeder so that animals cannot jump onto it.

12. Use Raccoon Baffles

One of the most popular guards many people use is the raccoon baffle. These cone-shaped metal or PVC pipe devices prevent animals from climbing up poles or trees to reach your bird feeder. The baffle makes it difficult for rodents to get a grip on the pole and climb past it.

Raccoon baffles come in different sizes and shapes, so choose one that fits your pole or tree trunk. You can also find baffles in red, green, black, or transparent colors.

13. Hang Your Feeder High

Another way to keep chipmunks away from your bird feeder is by hanging it off the ground where they cannot jump onto it. You can use a tall shepherd’s hook or hang it from a branch high above the ground. Make sure that the feeder is at least six feet off the ground to prevent animals from reaching it.

14. Use a Trap

If you have a persistent chipmunk problem, you may need to resort to trapping them. You can purchase humane traps from your local hardware store and bait them with seeds or nuts. Once trapped, release them far away from your home so they cannot find their way back.

15. Consider Using Seed Cylinders

Seed cylinders are another option for keeping chipmunks away from your bird feeder. These cylinders are made of compressed seeds that are difficult for rodents to access because of their shape and density. C&S Ready To Use Hot Pepper Delight Log is a great option.

16. Add Walnuts to Your Feeder

If you want to specifically deter chipmunks, consider adding walnuts to your feeder instead of other seeds. Chipmunks don’t like the taste of walnuts, so they’re less likely to be attracted by them.

17. Use light and Ultrasonic sound device

These devices emit high-frequency sounds and unpleasant flashing lights for chipmunks, causing them to leave the area. You can easily purchase one of these devices online or find at your local hardware store.

18. Use calcium carbonate

This substance is known to repel rodents, including chipmunks, and can be easily purchased as a powder or spray. Spread it around the perimeter of your feeder, or mix it with birdseed to keep chipmunks away.

19. Proper Seed Storage to Avoid Attracting Chipmunks

Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds to your yard, but they can also attract unwanted guests like chipmunks. These rodents love birdseed and will do whatever it takes to get their tiny paws on it. Fortunately, there are ways to keep them away from your feeder with proper seed storage.

  • Store Birdseed in Airtight Containers: Storing birdseed in airtight containers made of metal or hard plastic is the best way to prevent the scent of seed from attracting chipmunks. These containers will keep the seed fresh for longer periods while also preventing rodents from accessing it.
  • Avoid Storing Seeds in Paper Bags or Cardboard Boxes: Paper bags and cardboard boxes may seem like convenient storage options, but they are easy for rodents to chew through. If you store birdseed in these materials, you practically invite chipmunks into your yard.
  • Clean Up Spilled Seed Promptly: Some seeds may spill around the feeder even with proper storage. It’s important to promptly clean up any spilled seed as this can attract rodents. Use a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove any spilled seed from the ground around the feeder.
  • Choose Your Bag Size Carefully: Consider the bag size carefully when purchasing birdseed. If you buy a large bag of seed and don’t use it immediately, you’ll need to store the excess somewhere. This can be problematic if you don’t have a suitable container for storage.

20. Use the Right kind of Pool

If you haven’t tried any pool yet or want to buy a new one, I recommend a pool with a built-in baffle. Plus, go with a thin metal pool. It makes the task harder for chipmunks. 

You can use the Squirrel Stopper Pole and Baffle Set, which will reduce their presence in your bird feeder. The benefit of the pool is keeping the creature away. You can also hang eight bird feeders in the pool, which will allow you to enjoy the beauty of more birds in one place.

Simple Hacks to Keep Chipmunks Away From Bird Feeders

  • Clean up spilled seeds daily to discourage chipmunks from visiting and prevent them from making a home near your feeder.
  • After cleaning up the area beneath your bird feeders, dispose of the collected seeds in a sealed container far away from your home.
  • Chipmunks love oily seeds like safflower seeds, which are less attractive to birds. Instead, opt for other seeds, such as sunflower or nyjer seeds. These options are less oily and less likely to attract chipmunks.
  • Try a motion-activated sprinkler system to keep chipmunks, squirrels, and other pests away from your feeder without causing harm.
  • Place your feeder at least 10 feet away from any trees or structures that could provide easy access for chipmunks.
  • Consider using baffles on poles or hanging mechanisms to prevent rodents from climbing up.
  • Try using squirrel-proof feeders that have weight-sensitive perches that close off access when heavier animals try to land on them.
  • Secure the feeder pole base with wire mesh to keep chipmunks and other digging animals out.


In conclusion, keeping chipmunks away from your bird feeder is essential to ensure your feathered friends can enjoy their undisturbed meals. Keeping bird feeders safe from chipmunks requires consistent effort and attention to detail. Following these tips and tricks can create an environment that encourages birds to visit without inviting unwanted guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a chipmunk climb a metal pole?

Chipmunks cannot easily climb on a metal pole as those poles have less traction. But, if you use a wooden post, the chipmunk can easily climb through it.

Do chipmunks scare birds away?

The small birds feel insecure when they see that other creatures also take food from their feeding station. So, when birds notice that chipmunks also take food from their feeder, they will feel insecure going to the feeder and avoid visiting your yard.

A freelance designer, writer, and content marketer who also loves to spend her leisure watching wild birds and improving her garden and balconies making safe heaven for birds.

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