Trying to keep a squirrel out of your yard? Good luck, says Manitoba prof

If you’re trying to keep a squirrel out of your yard, Colin Garroway will tell you good luck.

Some homeowners may find that squirrels are just too smart to get rid of

Squirrels can be hard for homeowners to get rid of, says one University of Manitoba expert. (

If you're trying to keep a squirrel out of your yard, Colin Garroway wishes you good luck.

"It's tough," the assistant professor at the University of Manitoba's department of biology said.

"They're incredibly smart."

Garroway says part of the problem is that squirrels will just figure out ways around homeowners' attempts to foil them, including the use of anti-squirrel bird feeders.

"There's a whole industry of bird feeders that are sold as 'squirrel-proof,'" Garroway said.

Squirrels have been in the spotlight in Winnipeg after the city ordered a St. James woman to get rid of her backyard bird feeder on the grounds it provides squirrels with nourishment.

The city called Debra Belcourt's property a nuisance and unsanitary and ordered her to ensure her yard is free of infestations of "insects, rats, mice and other pests or vermin" or anything that "provides or may provide food or harbourage for pests or vermin."​

Garroway, who studied birds in the U.K., said his advice to a homeowner who wants to keep squirrels out of a bird feeder is to hang the feeder high.

"I hang mine from a tree quite far away from a branch, quite far away from the trunk of the tree.

That works fairly well, although certainly sometimes squirrels get there."

If that doesn't work and a homeowner is really desperate, Garroway says they can try soaking bird seeds in hot sauce.

He says certain birds can't taste the sauce.

"It does them no harm, but I guess that's a lot of work and it might be a little cruel to the squirrels."

with files from Up to Speed