Typically, having a birdhouse or bird feeder means you get to enjoy a plethora of diverse, colorful birds flocking into your yard daily. What if one day you look outside to see a large, striped-tailed animal hanging off your birdhouse or, worse, stealing eggs that your feathered neighbors have laid inside?
As a general rule, the best way to keep raccoons out of your birdhouse is to install steel baffles or wire caging, plant unappealing shrubbery, or putting your birdhouse in a place that restricts the raccoons access to the area.
Now, making your birdhouse inhospitable to raccoons doesn’t take much work. Still, you’ll want to make sure you are using a conducive solution to your yard, your needs, and your specific birdhouse or feeder. Let’s take a more in-depth look at some solutions you can utilize here!
Install a Steel Raccoon Baffle
Steel baffles are generally considered the most effective way to keep a raccoon out of your birdhouse or feeder. You may have heard of squirrel baffles, which, while helping to keep squirrels away (another pesky birdhouse invader!), will not keep raccoons out.
Raccoons are much heavier and more intelligent than squirrels. They can easily break, climb, and wrap their hands around your typical squirrel baffle and render it useless. A steel raccoon baffle is 10 inches in diameter and two feet tall, which will keep a twenty-pound pest out much better than one made for a two-pound animal.
So, you’ll need a raccoon baffle like these Woodlink Torpedo Raccoon Baffles, which can hold the weight of a raccoon.
The Woodlink Baffle will make it very difficult for the raccoon to venture up your birdhouse and was explicitly designed with raccoons in mind to hold their weight and repel them in the process.
Utilize Wire Caging
Wire caging will do almost the same thing as a steel baffle; it’s just more of a DIY option and may not always look as sleek and attractive as a baffle. Your best bet, of course, is to buy a raccoon baffle, but if for some reason you are unable to, using wire caging is your next best option.
You will want to make sure you are using chicken or galvanized wire- the stronger your cage is, the less likely it will be that a raccoon can knock it down and access your birdhouse.
Make sure it is adequately secured- since raccoons are known to jump onto birdhouses and shake them to get at the birds possible next, you’ll want to test out its security and stability before putting it into use.
A good starting spot is the MTB 20GA Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry Netting Chicken Wire. It’s durable and comes in various sizes, so you can fit it to the exact size and height you need to keep your birdhouse protected.
Plant Unappealing Shrubbery
This option tends to be a little more labor-intensive but can work pretty well nonetheless. If you already have sharp, spiky bushes like holly in your yard, that’s great!
Place your birdhouse above this shrubbery, and make sure you are regularly trimming it back so that not only can raccoons not use it to jump into your birdhouse, they also cannot hide or conceal themselves in it. Like many (partially) predatory animals, they will be turned off of areas that don’t provide them with adequate cover.
If you are looking for landscaping that you can plant to deter raccoons and other birdhouse invaders, a few options would be roses, yucca plants, switchgrass, holly, or any other plants and shrubbery that has spikes, thorns, or a bitter taste/scent- if the plants seem uninviting, raccoons will be less likely to migrate towards them in the first place.
Restrict Access to The Birdhouse
While it seems like a no-brainer to simply restrict the access of your birdhouse or feeder, it can be tricky considering raccoons are intelligent, agile, and most of all determined. Merely putting your birdhouse in a place where you don’t think raccoons can get to it will not always work since these little tricksters can reach more areas than one would think.
If you decide to go this route, here are a few things you can do to restrict a raccoon’s access to your birdhouse effectively.
Remove The Perch of The Birdhouse
While birdhouse perches are cute and allow your feathered visitors to lounge outside of their birdhouse, they also offer a raccoon and easy access point to your house or feeder and give them a good stronghold which they can grip as they easily remove eggs from the house.
Removing this perch is a straightforward step you can take to making your birdhouse more inhospitable!
Install Tubed Entrances
This solution requires a little more effort but can prove to be highly effective. Many types of birds are familiar and adept at burrowing into narrow entrances to find a safe place to eat, nest, and lay eggs, so attaching a small tube to the opening of your birdhouse will not deter birds from nesting there.
It will, however, make it much more difficult for predators like raccoons to get inside- while raccoons may have agile and flexible little hands, even they can’t squeeze themselves into a tube! Make sure your mounting job is proper and secure.
A proper amount for your birdhouse will not only help deter predators, but it can also help attract birds to nest in your birdhouse or eat in your birdfeeder- since most birds are prey animals, they can detect what may and may not be a safe location for them.
To do this properly, you will want to make sure that your house or feeder is at least ten feet away from any roofs, fences, or other structures that raccoons and squirrels could climb up and use to jump to your birdhouse.
Similarly, make sure your birdhouse is high enough off the ground to where no predator could simply jump up onto it. Think of it as a 10×10 rule- your house should be at least ten feet away from any structures or bushes and at least ten feet off the ground.
Spread Pepper Around Your Birdhouse
This solution may seem kind of strange, but it works! Buying bulk ground pepper or a similar repellent with a spicy, tangy odor and taste will help keep raccoons and other predators out of your birdhouse. Simply spray it around the birdhouse entrance (or any other places where raccoons may try to worm their way in), and let it do the work for you!
Since birds do not have a strong sense of smell or taste, it will not bother them or deter them from nesting in your birdhouse. You can view some of the scents that raccoons hate here.
Maintain Your Bird Feeders
Even if you don’t have a birdhouse and just a birdfeeder, raccoons and other pests will still try their hardest to get to that birdseed- or any other goodies you or the birds leave up there.
If you only have a feeder, there are a couple of things (aside from the ideas we’ve already mentioned) you can do to keep raccoons at bay. Bring them in at night.
This solution will require a lot more effort on your part but is pretty foolproof. Simply putting your birdfeeder inside a locked shed or garage at night can help deter raccoons from finding their way into your bird feeders while you are asleep. However, it will require you to physically change the location of your feeder twice a day, which can prove to be a hassle for many people.
Remove Excess Bird Seed at Night
This solution is similar to the last but requires a little less effort. Suppose you don’t feel like moving your birdfeeder multiple times a day. In that case, another thing you can do is simply empty it every night and remove the excess birdseed that has fallen to the ground.
If the birdseed is gone from both the feeder and the ground, raccoons won’t be able to smell it and are less likely to come around and lurk for snacks.
Utilize Hot & Spicy Bird Seed!
We already mentioned that birds do not have a strong smell of sense or taste- but raccoons and squirrels do! You can buy hot & spicy birdseed for your winged visitors, and they will remain none the wiser- but the raccoons won’t want seconds once they try some of this birdseed! If you’d like to give that a try, check out Cole’s Blazing Hot Birdseed Blend.
Hopefully, one of these many solutions will work to help keep your birdhouses and bird feeders safe and secure from an unwanted raccoon, as well as squirrels or other predators and pests that may come into your yard in search of a snack.
Now, you can sit back and enjoy the family of birds that have made your backyard their home without either of you having to worry about a predator invading your space during the day or night. Happy bird watching!
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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