Pros: Squirrelproof, holds charge for a long time, heavy duty, very entertaining.
Cons: Really heavy, very expensive.
There are few things in life that make me happier than feeding the wildlife that wanders thru my yard. I especially like to feed the birds that flock to a woodsy area in my backyard that I designed especially for them. It is chock full of shrubs, trees, and flowers that are attractive to birds and that have seeds and berries on which they can munch. I also like to keep a few bird feeders and a birdbath in the midst of all the flora and fauna but along with the birds those treats also attract annoying wildlife - squirrels.
Squirrels are cute furry little things but I cannot stand the way they make complete pigs of themselves, eat everything in sight and leave nothing for the birds, and then literally knock on my door for more. Oh yeah, if I neglect to refill the feeders fast enough, the squirrels will actually walk right up to my back sliding door and press their noses against it as if to say "Hey! Lady! Ain't no flippin food out here!"
Well I'll tell you where the food is you rotten little furface!. Allow me to introduce my new friend, the Yankee Flipper. Mwahahaaaaaaaaaaaa........
Last year while watching an episode of The Victory Garden I saw a story about the ultimate squirrel-proof bird feeder. I immediately found and bought one on Ebay before the segment was finished and within a few short days I had my very own Yankee Flipper bird feeder in my yard and after a few hours of charging I laughed hysterically upon the realization that I had finally won the battle. For the first time in history I had a feeder in my yard that is truly 100% squirrel proof. I paid dearly for it but the Flipper is well worth it for the entertainment value alone. More on that later.
About the Yankee Flipper
The Yankee Flipper bird feeder is made by a company called Droll Yankees. The Flipper is quite heavy as it is made from quality materials. The hanging loop is made of heavy duty, thick stainless steel wire with a looped bail that hangs securely from a hook or nail. The top cap and bottom wheel and battery housing are made from die cast zinc with hunter green powder coat. The clear tube which holds the seed is made from clear UV protected polycarbonate. It holds a whopping four quarts of seed so when it is completely full it must be hung from a heavy duty hook as it is very heavy. It's about 10 pounds empty so when seed is added it's at least 20 pounds. If I fill it up to the top Mr. Bugg has to help me lift it onto the shepherd's hook as it's just too heavy for me to do alone.
Before using the Yankee Flipper for the first time, the motor inside the bottom part of the feeder must be charged. There is a Nickel-Cadmium battery inside the motor that needs to be charged for about 12 hours initially using the included battery charger which plugs into a standard 120v outlet. Once the batter is fully charged you just snap the bottom part of the feeder back on, fill it with seed, hang it up, and wait for the show to begin.
Show? What show?
Well part of the show is watching the birds land on the circular perch attached to the bottom of the feeder. They can easily reach the ports situated around the tube that holds the seed and eat undisturbed til they explode if they so choose because once the squirrels figure out what you've done, they won't bother the birds ever again.
Impossible, you say? Oh contraire, mon frere! That's where act 2 of the show starts. When something heavier than a cardinal or robin lands on the perch wheel it triggers the weight activated motor and the perch spins around very quickly and flings the offender off of the perch. So the small birds can eat in peace and if the squirrel should grab ahold of the wheel he goes for a ride. Not a painful ride that would hurt the little beastie. Just a quick spin that will cause him to lose his grip on the feeder and not be able to cram his piggy little head and hands inside and stuff himself with the seed meant for the birds.
It's genius! And also very entertaining. Sometimes when a new squirrel hits town and hasn't heard of the Yankee Flipper I just sit back with a cup of coffee and watch him shimmy up the shepherd's hook and launch himself toward the perch. It's an absolute hoot to see him flung off into the bushes as a result.
Of course this little trapeze act does cause some of the seed to tumble out of the port holes and onto the ground however the squirrels have learned that jumping onto the feeder, and flying off involves more effort than it's worth so they pretty much stay away now.
Squirrels think they're really smart and can outwit the Yankee Flipper but in this case the humans truly win. The clear tube of this feeder is a full 21 inches in length. So unless there is some mutant squirrel out there that is like 3 feet long, most squirrels cannot hang from the top of the feeder using their feet and reach down to the bottom to dig the seed out using their paws as the distance is too great. The Flipper is also about 5 inches around so they cannot get their little arms to wrap around it either. The cap is heavy and fits snugly on the tube so squirrels cannot remove the cap either. It's absolutely perfect! Muahaahhaaaaaa.
The Yankee Flipper's battery holds a charge for a really long time. I've had it for about a year now and have charged it only twice. The initial charge when I first set it up and one more charge in the spring. It operated perfectly all winter long on that one charge.
The tube is nice and wide so filling it up is very easy and I don't spill too much during the filling process. And because it holds so darn much I only have to fill it about once a week instead of every day like with my old feeders.
The Yankee Flipper feeder carries a Lifetime Warranty. The warranty on the motor and battery unit is limited. It was voted the best new product of 2000 by Birdwatch America.
At about $125 the Yankee Flipper is not for everyone. I got mine on ebay for about half that price but feel it is well worth the full price for the entertainment value alone. One, because I love to watch the squirrels get flung off of the spinning wheel; Two, because now the squirrels go into my neighbor's yard to bother his feeders and it is very entertaining to watch him chase the squirrels around the yard with a Super Soaker; and Three, because it's nice that the birds in my yard can enjoy their food in peace without being pushed out of the way. The plastic tube has not yellowed or lost it's shape after being outside in the cold, wind, rain, snow, and sun for the last year. The powder coat on the outside looks new like the day I first put it out. This is a very high quality bird feeder that has held up well to the elements. For the price I'd be pretty upset if it did not hold up, but it is obviously made of good quality materials.
Go to yankeeflipper.com to see a video of the Yankee Flipper in action. It is HILARIOUS!