Raccoons Stealing Birdseed: Stop Them Now!

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:25 pm

Raccoons steal birdseed. Last year, a cheeky family of raccoons had taken up residence in my garden. The animals ate the birdseed and the tit dumplings. They were also raiding the nest boxes.

I researched how to stop the hungry omnivores from stealing the birdseed and raiding the nest boxes.
As I found out, it was easier than I thought and within a few weeks the animals disappeared from my garden. The birds finally had their peace again. How you can easily do that, you will learn in this article. Promised. Let’s go!

Do raccoons steal birdseed in the garden?

Raccoons Stealing Birdseed: Stop Them Now!

Yes, raccoons steal birdseed in the garden. Once the naughty omnivores have been there, they will keep coming back. I’m sure there are other goodies to be found in your yard. (For example, garbage cans, fruits and nuts).

If you find that you have a visit from raccoons, you should immediately start scaring them away.

As cute as raccoons are, they can do a lot of long-term damage to your home and yard. In addition, the animals can transmit dangerous diseases to humans and your pet.

Raccoons steal birdseed – This is what you have to do now!

A simple thin steel rope at a height of at least 2 meters between two stakes is enough to spoil raccoons’ nightly meal. As a rope you can use Rankhilfe wire rope, which is supplied including rope tensioners.

If raccoons steal birdseed, you should hang the birdseed (whether loose or in tit dumpling form) in places inaccessible to the raccoons. In this way, you can keep them at bay.
In the middle of the rope one fastens then the bird house and/or the tit dumpling. The rope should be attached to wooden posts, e.g. pine*, which can be additionally secured by sheet metal collars.

Remember. Raccoons are climbing artists!

Do not attach rope to trees

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Under no circumstances should rope be attached to trees. Raccoons can climb up trees with ease. Their sharp claws find excellent grip on the bumps in the bark.

Your safety measure will additionally protect wild birds from being attacked by cats.

What means are available to prevent raccoons from stealing birdseed?

1) Metal collars for trees
If you don’t have the possibility to use wooden posts and only trees are available as a fixing option, then you should definitely install metal collars for trees*.
These are easily attached to the lower part of the trunk with minimal effort and prevent raccoons and co. from climbing up.

This protective measure is extremely effective and easy and quick for anyone to install.

2) Use deterrents
There is a whole range of scaring agents available in specialized stores. This can be distributed near the bird house/nest box.

The scent of the deterrents, such as the very effective Neudorff Marder-& Waschbär-Schreck, drives away not only raccoons but also martens and foxes.

The agent should be renewed at regular intervals to ensure optimal protection.

3.) Install ultrasonic driver
Ultrasonic emitters emit ultrasonic waves that are inaudible to humans. Wild animals hate these sound waves and avoid the “sonicated areas”. The sound waves attack their visual center and they become very uncomfortable.

In my garden I use the Wikomo Solar Ultrasonic Animal Repeller. This irradiates the area under my bird house. The best thing is that the ultrasonic repeller is solar powered and I don’t have to worry about running out of batteries.

Since I’ve been using it, I’ve never had any problems with raccoons or cats raiding the birdhouse.

4) Install wildlife camera
To find out who is out and about in your garden or property at night, a wildlife camera is a good idea. You will be amazed how many wild animals “want” to be in front of the camera.

In the winter, I post the camera near my birdhouse at regular intervals. This way I can easily find out if my preventive measures (ultrasound, deterrents) are still effective or if I need to take additional measures.

One should choose a wildlife camera which has a night function. I use the SECACAM HomeVista Full HD Profi Outdoor* with over 1600 positive reviews on Amazon.
I am also very satisfied and in the morning I am always excited to see who absolutely wanted in front of the lens of my camera.

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Why is it necessary to protect nest boxes from raccoons?

Nest boxes should be protected from raccoons because raccoons increasingly threaten native bird species. Wild birds and their broods are at the top of the raccoon menu.

The predators that have immigrated to Europe have been reproducing unchecked for decades because they have no natural predators.

The more raccoons there are, the more endangered our wild bird species become. Appropriate safety precautions on nest boxes can help protect the population of resident birds.

How do I know it’s raccoons that are going after bird nest boxes?
Birds do indeed have quite a few predators in the wild. In addition to raccoons, wild birds and their broods are also eaten by martens and tanuki, badgers, dormice, weasels and cats.

Since the range of crepuscular and nocturnal predators is quite wide, you can find out which predator it is by hanging a wildlife camera.

What nest boxes are suitable for birds to protect them from raccoons?

Wooden or wood-concrete nesting boxes.
The most suitable nesting boxes for birds are those made of wood or wood concrete. They are inherently stable and not quite easy to crack. It is important that the so-called “maintenance flap” is not closed only by a latch.

Due to the dexterity of raccoons, this does not provide sufficient protection. The predator will be able to open the latch quite easily.

It is better to close this flap by means of a screw. This should also be done with the KeepItWood pine nest box*. Otherwise the nesting box is very suitable.

Terracotta nesting boxes are unsuitable

In nest boxes for birds made of terracotta, for example, the nest predator makes quick work of it. The raccoon will try to tear the nest box from its attachment to the tree trunk and throw it to the ground.

In the process, a terracotta nesting box most likely shatters and nothing stands in the way of the raccoon’s supper.

Screwed nesting boxes are mandatory

Furthermore, it should be remembered that nest boxes whose elements were merely nailed are torn apart by raccoons. A screwed nest box provides birds with more security and deprives predators of the opportunity to destroy it.

Schwegler nest boxes

Furthermore, one should pay attention to the entrance holes in nest boxes for birds. If these are unprotected, a raccoon simply reaches into the nest box with its paw and helps itself.
There are nesting boxes in the trade, which sufficiently secure the nesting birds and their brood.

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These are sold under the name “Schwegler nest box* The nest boxes are equipped with protection against martens, raccoons and cats”.

Wettenberg nest box

If you would like to build a safe nest box system yourself, which has proven to be predator-proof over the past decades, you should take a closer look at the “Wettenberg nest box”.

This nest box construction method has proven itself since the 1980s. The prey animals that can reach into the nest boxes (e.g. raccoon and marten) are prevented from accessing the entrance hole by means of a wooden porch in the form of a small board (building instructions “Wettenberger Nistkasten” NABU).

How should nesting boxes for birds be hung to protect them from raccoons?

Since raccoons are quite cunning and inventive, nesting boxes for birds must be hung with sufficient thought. If you simply attach the nest boxes to a tree trunk, the raccoon will simply climb up the trunk and quickly reach its destination.

If the nest box is then also still too loosely fastened to the trunk, it stands badly around the bird offspring. It is better to hang nest boxes for birds on branches.
Raccoons are true climbers, but they have a hard time finding sufficient footholds on narrow branches. The predators will quite quickly lose the desire to continue this strenuous balancing act without any prospect of success.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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