Bird Seed Storage: How A Squirrel Bandit Almost Got Away with It

Bird Seed Storage: How A Squirrel Bandit Almost Got Away with It

A lot of effort goes into keeping squirrels from rampaging through our bird feeders. More often than not, they manage to break through our best defenses. That, in turn, just means we try another tactic — a stronger, more difficult-to-crack marvel of engineering.

But sometimes, we humans slip up and let the squirrels do what they do best. Enjoy this tale of bird seed storage gone awry:

Squirrels have incredibly sensitive noses and will likely find your outdoor seed storage bin.You see, earlier this winter, we purchased a huge sack of Black-Oil Sunflower seeds at our local retailer and lugged it home. There, we pulled it open, filled up our feeders and then, well, we got lazy. Every bird-feeding enthusiast out there knows not to leave their bag of seed out. You’re just asking for trouble from squirrels, chipmunks, mice and whatever else might be hungry.

And we knew that too. We really did. We actually did take a precaution — with the least amount of effort possible, we just right and dropped the bag of sunflower seeds into a plastic tub.

Doing that would be fine if the tub was in a locked shed, a screened in porch or down in the basement. But, like we said, we were lazy. We just left it out on the side porch.

And then something discovered our faulty bird seed storage bin.

The scene of the crime! A squirrel gnawed this hole in the side of a plastic tub to get the black oil sunflower seeds inside.About three weeks after we filled the tub full of seed, there were chunks of plastic littering the porch. The vault had been breached!

The creature — a squirrel by our estimate — had aggressively attacked the bird seed storage bin, chewing a hole in the corner of the tub. Luckily for us, the little safe-cracker didn’t make it all the way through. The squirrel started on the lid, got through that and then hit the harder plastic on lip of the tub. In the ensuing days, we actually saw the squirrel making progress, too — the holes in both the lid and the tub kept getting bigger.

But how did it even find the treasure trove of sunflower seeds? Well, squirrels have an incredible sense of smell. That’s how they find buried nuts, after all. It also probably didn’t help that our sunflower-filled bird feeder was less than 20 feet from the tub. A wandering critter with a nose for the high-fat snack was bound to come across it.

metal tub for bird seedOnce we discovered the break in attempt, we zipped back to the store to buy extra security — a miniature metal trash can. It’s enough to hold most, if not all, of a standard bag of seed, plus leave room for our bird seed scoop.

The squirrels around the our household still get plenty of snacks — that’s why we make those kid-friendly peanut-butter pine cones — but from now on they’re only getting a treat when we decide to give it to them.