Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on the question to go directly to the answer)

Just what makes the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe so special?

Why don't you have more feeding ports so more birds can eat at once?

What is the best place to put my SquirrelAway Bird Cafe?

How do you keep the lid down on the wire hanger?

Should I see birds come soon after I put it out?

Which bird feed should I use?

Is the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe raccoon proof?

Is the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe deer proof?

Should I bring my feeder inside in the winter?

How much should I expect to pay for this feeder?

Why don't I see this bird feeder in stores, if it is so great?

Just exactly what is the Northern Illinois Food Bank?

How often should I clean the feeder?

How long does it take to build the Bird Cafe?

How can I get a question answered you haven't put on this page?

Just what makes the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe so special?

  • All feeders are built one at a time, in Illinois, with a major portion of the key materials made in Illinois, right in the heartland of the USA.

  • The clear PVC tubes are unique to the bird feeder market. They offer strength and durability as well as UV protection for a long life.

  • The effectiveness come from design alone, with no assistance from batteries. It doesn't spin, shock or twirl the squirrel, but rather, fools the squirrel into a false sense of knowing what he is doing. He thinks first that he can grab the sides with his sharp claws (it's to slick and wide cling to). He then thinks he will grab the perch as he slides down (the spring mounting of the perch gives way) and he is on a quick trip to the ground.

  • This feeder has at least 60 more benefits than any other bird feeder you may find. That is the 60+ meals that are provided to the hungry through your purchase.

Why don't you have more feeding ports so more birds can eat at once?

One of the key features of this feeder is the length of the feeder compared to the length of the squirrel. Squirrel are generally 12 to 14 inches long from the tip of their nose to the nails on their toes. I have seen them try to hang from the wire hanger down to the ports and can just about reach them with the ports near the bottom. If more ports were any closer to the top of the tube, it would limit our power over these agile creatures. One customer sent me a picture of one huge squirrel (based on the picture was 16 inches tip to tip) hanging from the wire and eating. This older model had a tube 16 inches long. The new Version 7.2 has an 18 inch long tube. The pictures show that the longer version (on the right) is now ready for the them:

Squirrel Proof 1

How do you keep the lid down on the wire hanger?

The new loop finial on Version 8.0 is not only attractive, but it is also very functional. By sliding the hanging wire through the loop before hanging, it locks down the lid so the squirrel can't get in. If the slide on older versions was not down snug, squirrels sometimes got inside the feeder tube. This eliminates that potential.

What is the best place to put my SquirrelAway Bird Cafe?

  1. Put the Cafe where you can easily see it from the room you spend most of your waking hours. The key is to enjoy the birds you attract and the squirrels fail.

  2. Hook it on a place so the squirrels can't reach it from a nearby point. Economical shepherd hooks are usually not the best choice, as they can climb the pole and can often times reach over and pull the Cafe to them. (Some have greased the pole and that can be entertaining, but it soon wears off).

  3. Garden Flag Poles can be an acceptable choice (as seen on the video), but they may need to be reinforced by the local welder to keep from bending from the weight of a full bird cafe. The McDermott family in Elgin, Illinois enjoy their SquirrelAway Bird Cafe on their reinforced pole. Bird Feeder Pole

  4. A good do-it-yourself stand can be put together with little effort for around $30. (shown on the squirrel video) You will find the threaded 1/2 inch black pipe, elbows, and caps at your local hardware or lumber yard. I have 3 working for me.

  5. If you have a tree nearby, hang it from one of the branches that puts the feeder about eye level and clear of other branches so that a squirrel can't reach for the feeder and pull it to him. I have used steel clothes line wire from the hardware store and bent a loop for the wire of the feeder to go through and then bend the other end around a limb. The wire can be any length and the loop keeps deer and raccoons from knocking the cafe off and on to the ground.

Hanger 1

Should I see birds come soon after I put it out?

Birds can be very cautious. You may have to wait a couple of weeks or more until you begin to have dinner guests. One recommendation I have heard to speed the process is to put shelled sunflowers in the feeder to start. You can change later if it hurts your pocketbook to much, but sunflowers are a gourmet's delight for many of the more desirable birds.

Which bird feed should I use?

This is one of those deals where You Get What You Pay For. If you look at the tag on the bag, it will list the types of food it contains. In my mind, corn, wheat and milo do not belong in bird feed. The industry would consider them as "fillers". Millet is OK, but it will attract some of the less desirable bird, such as common sparrows. I recommend a good cardinal mix or song bird mix which contains black oil sunflowers, stripped sunflowers, safflowers and a few *peanuts. Yes it will cost more, but you will waste less and bring the widest variety of the kind of birds you want to attract. (*Peanuts are the preference for my red bellied woodpeckers. The problem is they will come to the feeder and rake out a lot of seed just to get to that peanut they see coming down the tube. Birds and squirrels clean up what they have raked out on the ground....but I am thinking about taking it out of the mix.) Note: Safflowers are said to be one of the least desirable ingredients by the squirrel. You can buy straight safflower seed if you want to try to starve them out.

Is the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe raccoon proof?

NO!

But ......I did see 5 raccoons under my feeder around midnight a while back and they cleaned up what was on the ground under the feeder, then walked off into the night. I'm not sure whether they have ever tried to get up on the pole, so maybe...........

Is the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe deer proof?

NO!

The only thing I could recommend is that if you have a problem, use a stepladder and hang it high off a tree limb. (maybe use a long wire hook like I have shown above)

Should I bring my feeder inside in the winter?

No. Keep the feeder out all year round. You should also have water readily available if you can. It is good to have a heated water source. It will keep the birds coming. You can find them online, bird feeder supply store or hardware store.

How much should I expect to pay for this feeder?

Most retailers selling my Version 8.0 are asking $45 - $50. The price puts the cost about in the middle of the prices I have seen in the stores for "squirrel proof bird feeders", plus........at least $10 is going to the food bank to feed those 60 people. If you can't find one in your area, go to the Purchasing Options page of this website and you can purchase Version 8.0 and delivered to your door..

Why don't I see this bird feeder in stores, if it is so great?

As a famous politician says, "Look..........." I'm just a guy who had a problem and sharing the solution with others. I am officially retired, don't require the money. I have help from friends and family, but the most I can build (or would want to build) in a month is around 100 cafes. I service some local retailers and enjoy selling at the Kane County Flea Market. The flea market offers the opportunity to talk to a lot of wonderful people, give them a smile as they watch my squirrel video and make sure I'm still on the right design track. My main goal now is to feed dollars into the food bank organization, so they can continue to feed those in need.

Just exactly what is the Illinois Food Bank?

They are one of 200 regional food banks in the United States under Feed America. They service various organizations such as local food pantries and salvation army outlets.

How often should I clean the feeder?

Certainly when things start growing down there. Seriously, with the new design of the 7.2 Version, the birds can get to most of the food, but, I keep my bird feed in a tub and about every other time I fill it, I dump what is left back into the tub and then fill the feeder with it mixed in. I'm not sure what the purist would say, but it works for me and my birds.

How long does it take to build the Bird Cafe?

It is hard to say because I hardly ever do one cafe at a time. I'll paint 24 lids at one time, prepare 12 tubes at one time, make 30 ports at one time, make 40 perches at one time, assemble 6 feeders at a time, etc. I suppose if I did one feeder from beginning to end, it might take a couple of hours. I don't keep close track, but it does keep me out of trouble.

How can I get a question answered you haven't put on this page?

If your question relates to the SquirrelAway Bird Cafe, click on my email link squirrelaway1@gmail.com and send me your question. I'll try to get you an answer.