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Raccoons raiding my feeders!

17 years ago

I have a problem with raccoons raiding my hummingbird feeders nearly every night. I have one hanging from an apple tree and one hanging on a short shepherd's hook. They get into both, either knocking them off the hanger or unscrewing the bottom and draining the bottle. Ug! And they are such dirty critters that I need to rewash the feeders every time.

Any suggestions on how to keep them away? I could take them in at night, but I'd likely be splashing/dripping nectar and end up with ants in the house. Would a taller shepherd's hook work?

And on top of all that I rarely see any hummers at all (maybe one every two weeks or so) so I feel like I'm not doing much more than making kool-aid for the 'coons.

Comments (20)

  • DPallas
    17 years ago

    I have the same problem with raccoons in a muilberry tree and with very a short shepherds hook that has the feeder just a couple feet from the ground. They haven't figured out that there are feeders in six other trees or on another short hook or a couple taller shepherds hooks. Therefore, I'm inclined to believe they don't go hunting for feeders, they just stumble across them somehow, possibly when they drip on the ground.

    First suggestion, move the feeders to new locations. If they can't be moved, maybe you can borrow a raccoon-size Havaheart live trap from an animal control or humane society (they cost $70). I bought one and have caught four raccoons and three opossum with hummingbird nectar in a little cup as bait at the base of the mulberry tree. Another option, leave the feeders on the threshhold between the door and screen door overnight so the ants don't get in the house. If it's too big you can get a Trap-It ant trap at or elsewhere so the feeders can be brought in. Hope this helps!

  • texaspuddyprint
    17 years ago

    ...and back at the ranch we have racoons that pull open up those big tin popcorn cans to get to the dog food!!!

    ~ Cat

  • Janis_G
    17 years ago

    They swing on my suet feeder til every morsel is gone, If
    the possums don't beat them to it.
    I started bringing my feeder in, that solved that problem.

    So far my hummer feeders have escaped, (they'll probably
    get those tonight) now that i've opened my big mouth about it.

    I tell you folks, i'm about to swear off my love of nature's critters except
    humming birds, especially after my July 4th fiasco with the sky carp.

  • Vickior
    17 years ago

    years ago I had the same problem, the only way we solved it
    was to bring the feeders in after dark, and get them back out there early in the morning, The hummers did not seem to mind because we had lots of flowers also.

  • texaspuddyprint
    17 years ago

    That is too funny, Walt!!! :o)

    ...but along those lines...I read something about having the man of the house pee in a can and sprinkle that around gopher and mole holes...that the urine of an adult male is supposed to scare them off. I can see where they'd associate a coyote with a predator...but a human? Heck, I guess it's worth a try on raccoons too.

  • jenny_in_se_pa
    17 years ago

    Cat - Humans are the most lethal predators on this planet and nothing has a chance against us! But fortunately as predators, we do have the capability for something that few animals have evolved to have due to the natural instinct for survival - compassion. ;-)

  • ornithophilous
    17 years ago

    I've had the same problem this year. I thought if I brought the feeders in nightly for a couple of weeks, the coons or possums would cross my yard off of their "to do" list. The first night I left the feeders out again, however, they were raided again! So I'm back to bringing them in nightly. If I do it carefully, I don't have problems with spills or ants. I do have a problem, however, with getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning to get the feeders out! I'm panicking a bit now, because I've built up a good clientele at my hummingbird buffet, but I'm leaving on vacation for six days. I'm afraid the coons will raid the feeders the first night i'm gone and then the hummers will leave before I get back to refill the feeders. I have my feeders on shepard's hooks--I thought perhaps if I put out something underneath the feeders around the base of the pole that would be very unpleasant for the coons/possums to stand on? A bed of nails?

  • oubliette
    17 years ago

    If the shepard's hooks are tall enough, you could put raccoon baffles on the poles. This has worked well at my seed feederz.

    Disclaimer:I do not agree with nor endorse the use of "Sponsored Links" possibly embedded in my posts by the owner of this or any other website.

  • Janis_G
    17 years ago

    ornithophilous, the hummingbirds will head out soon on
    their way south anyway, whether you are there or not.

    If someone isn't going to monitor your feeders, the nectar
    will spoil in 6 days and the hummers will leave on that account.

    Baffles might work and that's what I will do if the raccoons
    ever start raiding my feeders.


  • HanArt
    17 years ago

    Same problem here this year. I solved it by moving the 3 affected feeders elsewhere. Now have 3 window feeders, one hanging from the screened porch overhang, and one on the clothesline. No more raccoon raids!

  • Cabin_Gal
    17 years ago

    I've battled raccoons forever too. They can tear up feeders and make the biggest mess. I got some stuff called shake away, it's the coyote urine in a dried form. Just got it this weekend so don't know how effective it'll be but I'm giving it a try. Wasn't too awfully expensive, (if it works) it's worth it. This past week I found a tomatoe with one bite out of it sitting on the deck rail next to the birdfeeder, had to be a coon. Guess he wanted to add a little veggie to his diet.

  • dakster
    17 years ago

    HAHAHAHA @ Walt- you got that right!

  • walt2002
    17 years ago

    I made a hook that goes over the eves trough and feeder hangs down from that in front of window. No problems with antes, coons, etc. yet. No damage to house from mounting screws. A high wind will probably play heck with it though.

    Walt Conner

  • djofletty_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    Tonight has been the 2nd night some lil rascal scared the wits outta me! Been having something raiding my feeders too. Lil sucker came up on my 2nd story deck and running across it! Knew it was a coon or possum as I could hear their claws as they ran past me as I sat in the dark smoking. I took off so fast, I still had the cigarette in my hand as I jumped through the door. Had to open the door quick to throw it out as I don't smoke in the house. Lordy lordy - almost broke my legs n back. I'll be sure to turn the corner light on next time. I had researched what could be the culprit b4 and thought it was woodpeckers. NOT!!!!! WOW! Think I'll bring them in now.

  • Jody Blair
    7 years ago

    get a baffle to clip to your shepard's hook, I did for my bird feeders and have not had a problem since, can't see why it wouldn't work for the hummingbird feeders as well

  • mickeymantle
    7 years ago

    they sell this thing with a censer connected to a hose that wets down anything going in its path

  • Jean Meikle
    6 years ago

    Jody Blair what is a baffle clip

  • kitasei
    6 years ago

    I recommend watching "Raccoon Nation" - a documentary available on Netflick..

  • mehitabel zone 6
    6 years ago

    Something has been emptying my deck feeders every night, removing/loosening the covers and even knocking one down. Never had this before, but now my deck is definitely on their list. Feeders in front haven't been touched yet. I don't think a baffle is possible for the deck, because the feeders are on poles that slant away from the deck railings.

    Has anyone tried the coyote urine method for keeping big raiders away from the feeders? It works for keeping rabbits and deer from eating my flowers, but I'm afraid that if I use it, it will keep the birds away as well.