Keep Raccoons Away From Your Bird Feeder With One Kitchen Ingredient

Bird feeders are a great addition to any yard. They bring a charming level of entertainment, allowing you to spot all the different bird species in your neighborhood as they swoop down and snack on the nuts and seeds you left out for them. However, one sneaky downside to adding a bird feeder to your yard is that it attracts more than just feathered friends — it also draws in pests, such as raccoons.

They see your feeder as a free snack, and you'll often catch them climbing the pole or jumping from a tree branch to get to the food inside. Since they're omnivores — animals that consume both meat and plants — they're not even relatively picky about what their meal looks like. Not only will they eat the supply in the bird feeder, but they can scatter the food onto the grass, which will attract other troublesome critters like rats and squirrels. If you're worried about this happening — or have already caught a raccoon or two sniffing around your feeding device — all you need is a little bit of pepper to keep raccoons away from your feeder.

How to use pepper to scare racoons away from bird feeders

While raccoons aren't picky eaters, they don't particularly favor spicy foods. That's where peppers such as cayenne or black pepper come into play. These critters have a keen sense of smell, which they use to forage for food and avoid danger. They have millions of receptors in their noses, making them expert sniffers. Luckily, you can use this keen sense of smell against them with peppers. Because black or cayenne pepper is spicy and pungent, it will overload their nose and make them scamper in the other direction. The bird feeder will no longer appear appetizing to them, leading them look for an easier source of food. 

To use these common pantry spices against them, you can either sprinkle them directly on the bird feeder or mix them with water and spray on the solution. To create the liquid repellent, boil 4 cups of water with ⅓ cup of cayenne pepper. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, let it cool, and then strain it into a bottle. Spray your seed and feeder liberally to repel any lingering raccoons. The good news is hot peppers have no effect on birds, so they will still happily peck at your feeder without issue.