how to bear proof a bird feeder

Why Bears Visit FeedersPart of the problem with feeding birds is that you’re putting out the welcome mat to attract them. You pick their favorite seeds. Perhaps, you have a birdbath in your yard. Unfortunately, the bears notice your efforts, too. Bears aren’t much different from other wildlife—or people. They go for the low-hanging fruit to conserve energy. It doesn’t help if other things are attracting them, such as accessible garbage cans, outdoor pet food bowls, or a filled composter.

Digging hole to install pole

Assembly instructions

Raccoon climbing pole before and after baffle installation

Using Hookum feeder hanging system

Mom with cubs trying to climb pole

The Dangers of Bears

Bears are strong animals and highly protective of their young. When they become agitated, they can pose a threat to people and pets alike and result in serious injuries or even death. Since they are wild creatures, bears can be erratic; even one that appears peaceful and docile at first may suddenly turn hostile. Even though these risks are known, it’s crucial to remember that bears pose a threat to themselves if they visit bird feeders.

  • Bears frequently choose simple meals, but consuming a lot of birdseed or other bird-friendly foods will not give them the healthiest nutrition, especially for growing cubs.
  • Bears can contract illnesses from unclean feeders or food tainted with excrement, which they can then pass on to nearby wildlife and other bears.
  • Bears are susceptible to injuries to their mouths, paws, or eyes from sharp shards and broken feeders, which can result in infections and illnesses.
  • Bears that are accustomed to roaming through a neighborhood run a far higher risk of getting struck by cars, unintentionally shot, and encountering other hazardous situations.

It is advisable to bear-proof bird feeders and eliminate the temptation for bears to approach too closely due to the threats that bears pose to people and the risks they encounter when entering neighborhoods.

Prior to taking action to deter bears, find out from local authorities whether or not bird feeders are allowed during bear season. To lessen the possibility of unwelcome encounters, feeders may be limited or outlawed in areas where bear activity is prevalent. Make sure you adhere to all bear-proof safety recommendations, if there are any in your area. There are simple ways to support bear-proof bird feeders and feeding stations even in the absence of local regulations.

Feeders can be kept out of bears’ reach at night by being locked in a sturdy shed or garage. Make sure that any extra seed is kept indoors or in suitable bear-proof containers.

Keep the Feeding Area Clean

Clear away any spilled seed beneath feeders that might still draw bears looking for food. To prevent seed from spilling, hang feeders should have netting or platforms underneath. Any seed that does get through can be cleaned up with rakes and lawn vacuums.

Bears can be deterred from feeding by sturdy poles positioned 10–12 feet high. Metal poles work best to deter climbing, and the poles should be firmly cemented to prevent them from toppling over.


Will bird feeders attract bears?

Bears are attracted to food sources which have a scent. Generally, it is not bird feeders which attract a bear to a backyard, but other things that have an attractive scent such as: BBQ grills, compost piles, fruit trees and pet food. A bear often stumbles upon a bird feeder while pursuing other food sources.

How do I keep predators off my bird feeder?

Cover up: Because hawks are attracted to the sight of prey activity, try keeping feeder customers out of view. Tarps and even umbrellas can be useful. Look for bird feeders with roofs or add non-see-through covers. Avoid ground feeding: Birds that are eating on the ground are particularly susceptible to hawk attacks.

How do you hang a bird feeder to keep bears away?

Bird feeders can easily be strung on thin wires between two poles or trees, using a pulley to raise and lower the feeders for cleaning and refilling. Bears cannot climb thin wires, but the feeders should still be 10-12 feet high and at least 5-6 feet away from any tree a bear could climb.

How do you get bird feeders without attracting bears?

The basic principle of bear- proofing bird feeders is to hang the feeder beyond a black bear’s reach. Sometimes the solution is to hang the feeder outside an upper story window, but please be aware that bears can scale rough sided walls. Remember to store bird seed securely indoors at all times.