We are a young company headquartered in Buffalo,
New York, committed to making backyard wild bird feeding more
enjoyable for you and the birds. The war between bird feeders and
squirrels has raged for many years with squirrels still winning most
of the battles. Not any more! Products sold by us are designed to
discourage squirrels from eating the feed that is intended for the
birds. Our products are all natural, safe and organic.
with many new inventions, the story behind coating birdseed with hot
pepper to safely and effectively rid bird-feeding environments of
squirrels and other pesky furry intruders is an interesting one. It
begins with Dr. Joe Dunn, a Buffalo native who has an undergraduate
degree in chemistry and a PhD degree in pharmacology (the science of
drug action and chemistry) from the State University of New York at
Buffalo. In 1980, Dr. Dunn was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology
at Harvard Medical School. At Harvard, Dr. Dunn studied in the
laboratory of Dr. Peter M. Blumberg, a prominent biochemist pursuing
basic research to discover the biochemical causes of many diseases,
including cancer. Dr. Blumberg’s specific expertise was in the
fields of cellular pharmacology, carcinogenesis (the process of
cancer formation) and pain intervention.
In 1982, Dr.
Blumberg decided to devote his career to the study of cancer
research and left Harvard to join the staff of the National Cancer
Institute in Bethesda, Maryland as Section Head in the Laboratory of
Cellular Carcinogenesis and Tumor Promotion. He recruited Dr. Dunn
to join him there.
At the National Institute of Health
(NIH), one of the areas Dr. Blumberg’s research team focused on was
examining natural irritants and their effect on tumor formation and
growth. Among the chemicals studied was capsaicin, the natural
occurring component of hot chili peppers that produces a "hot"
sensation when eaten. While capsaicin is a very powerful
, it is also all organic and
non-toxic. Research also proved that it had no effect on tumor
formation, but interesting observations and theories about neural
receptors abounded. The studies showed that the "hot" sensation is
caused by capsaicin binding to specific, high affinity
"capsaicinoid" receptors on C-afferent (nociceptor) nerve fibers
causing the release of the neurotransmitter Substance P producing a
"perceived" painful response in mammals. However, there is no
physical damage or lasting sensation as a result of contact with
capsaicin. Mammals (squirrels, rabbits, deer, raccoons, rats and
mice, as well as humans) have these receptors, and therefore,
experience hot sensations when exposed to chili peppers.
scientists at the NIH wondered whether all species of animals have
capsaicin sensitive receptors. It has been long observed that
several species of birds could eat chili peppers regardless of the
level of capsaicin present. Studies were undertaken which proved
that birds either lack capsaicin receptors or have receptors that
are insensitive to this compound. Most botanists and ornithologists
believe that nature evolved this way so that birds would freely eat
the pepper plants thereby spreading undigested seeds over wide
areas. Small mammals would avoid eating the plants because they do
not like the taste of capsaicin. This adaptation/co-evolution would
result in natural propagation of the chili species.
Blumberg and Dunn discussed what practical application these
discoveries might have and came up with the idea to coat wild
birdseed with capsaicin. Birds will freely eat the coated seed
because they do not "taste" capsaicin. However, squirrels, as well
as most small mammals, would avoid eating it and look elsewhere for
The National Institutes of Health filed for and
received U.S. Patents entitled "Treated Bird Seed Preferentially
Palatable to Birds but Unpalatable to Animals Having Capsaicin
Sensitive Receptors" (Nos. 5762354, 5821269 and 5879696). The
Canadian patent (No. 2090315) was issued in early 1999 and other
foreign patents are pending. Dr. Dunn licensed the worldwide rights
to this technology.
After he resigned from his job at
Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals Research Institute in
Philadelphia, he moved back to Buffalo to begin the process of
reducing theories into practical products. Dr. Dunn recruited his
brother, Chris, who was currently the owner operator of a very
successful radio station in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he too
moved back to Buffalo.
A close alliance was formed with
Cornell University to study animal behavior regarding safety, as
well as efficacy (effectiveness). Dr. Paul Curtis headed up many of
the studies performed. In late 1998, the Dunn brothers decided to
augment the Management Team and John Edholm (formerly president of
Pierce & Stevens Corporation) joined as a partner.
management team is committed to being customer focused. We want to
continually improve our products and services by learning from you —
the customer. We have set up our website to hopefully provide
helpful information, as well as be a forum to answer questions. We
want to proactively communicate with birders like yourself. We would
love to hear from you about your experiences, needs and ideas.
Please phone, fax e-mail or use snail (regular) mail. We respond to
all. Check out some additional information about our Customer
Service Team in the CONTACT US section.
Thank you for
considering Squirrel Free Products.
Snail mail: Squirrel Free Products
255 Great Arrow
Buffalo, New York, 14207 Special Note:
We pay a royalty fee to the National Institute of Health based upon
our sales volume. Therefore, a portion of your dollars spent on
pepper based squirrel resistant bird feeds goes to fund cancer