Raccoons raiding my feeders!

pcrock(5)August 5, 2005

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.

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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

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 bestnest.com or elsewhere so the feeders can be brought in. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 4:31PM
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...and back at the ranch we have racoons that pull open up those big tin popcorn cans to get to the dog food!!!

~ Cat

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:02PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:00AM
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Vickior(ct. zone 6)

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.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 8:59AM
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"Any suggestions on how to keep them away?"

When our daughter had problems with critters, she found a bottle of Coyote Urine and sprinkled it around the area. She complained about the cost but I said do you realize how hard it is to get a Coyote to pee in a bottle?

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 2:27PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 4:00PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

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. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 4:54PM
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ornithophilous(z4 MN)

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?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:15PM
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oubliette(z7 MS)

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.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 9:33AM
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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.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 12:12PM
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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!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:14AM
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Cabin_Gal(z6 NC)

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.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 11:31AM
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dakster(z6 Cent.CT)

HAHAHAHA @ Walt- you got that right!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 7:59PM
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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

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 10:21PM
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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.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:30AM
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