bird feeders
No squirrels allowed. Brian Klutch

Seeds hold the potential for new life, but not all are destined to grow.

Some provide sustenance for our feathered friends, luring birds into our backyards and giving us a chance to spy them up close. Unfortunately, pesky squirrel scavengers also love a seedy snack and will scare off avians trying to snag a nibble. These feeders each keep the furballs at bay while welcoming the winged ones.

1. Good

Duncraft’s 2959 Squirrel Blocker stymies rodents in the simplest way possible: a grid of steel wire guards the inner tube. Birds that love to perch—such as finches and chickadees—can poke their beaks through to sample the 1.5 pounds of sustenance within. A plastic dome blocks rain, which can knock seed to the ground and attract even more pawed menaces.

2. Better

The Yankee Flipper takes an active approach to fending off furballs. When anything heavier than 8 ounces lands on the bottom perch, a battery-powered motor spins it, flinging the pest away. This way, it won’t hang around trying to claw its way in. At nearly a foot-and-a-half tall, the polycarbonate tube holds up to 5 pounds of avian snacks.

3. Best

Squirrels are heavier than the birds you want at your feeder, a fact that the Brome SquirrelBuster Plus uses to its advantage. Anything weighing more than 3.5 ounces, such a rodent or a pigeon, will pull down an adjustable, spring-­controlled plastic sleeve that covers the feed holes. The mass of a 0.35-ounce nuthatch or even a 1.5-ounce cardinal won’t.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 Life/Death issue of Popular Science.