One of the easiest ways to deter unwanted wildlife from getting into your home is to get bird feeders away from the house. We love the birds, but the hard truth is that the bird seed people put in their feeders attracts all sorts of critters, from raccoons to deer to squirrels and mice.
Birds are notoriously messy in their eating habits, as you can see from the picture above. Raccoons and other critters will often come to the area by night to scavenge the spilled birdseed. Enterprising raccoons or squirrels will actually climb up and knock the birdfeeder around to intentionally spill more seed. A lot of bird seed gets consumed this way; in fact, it has been estimated that for every 20 pounds of bird seed a homeowner puts out, 11 pounds of it will get consumed by creatures other than birds.
The danger in this is that you are creating a stable food source for the critters. Once they have a stable food source, they have a spring-board from which to set up a population nearby. And if a raccoon is looking for a place to set up his home near a bird feeder and your house is close by, guess where he’s going to look? Snoozing all winter in your attic while sauntering out in the evenings to munch bird seed is a pretty good deal for a raccoon.
If you want to use bird feeders, we recommend keeping them at least 20 yards away from the house. This keeps the critters from getting too curious about your structure and makes it much less likely they will try to get into your roof or basement.
In addition, we recommend putting out bird feeders only between December and March, when the birds truly need it. During the winter, most raccoons and squirrels are going to be inactive, so there is less danger in attracting them.