The Case of the Mysterious Seed Thief

by DFS-Pet-Blog on October 20, 2009

squirrel**Guest post from Keith G.**

As a “bird guy,” I spend a lot of time not just with my own indoor flock but enjoying the bounty of wild birds found here in Northern Wisconsin as well. That was, until someone began sabotaging my feeder. I would awake every morning to find the feeder, which I had filled the day before, on the ground, toppled over, emptied of seed. Thus, with a tweed jacket and magnifying glass in hand, began the Case of the Mysterious Seed Thief!

Ok, I admit I’m being a bit dramatic, but I’ve always wanted to play detective. So I put those detective skills to use in order to determine what the heck was happening to my feeder. First, I had to assess the crime scene – the back patio.

Our apartment has a back patio that sits beneath a suspended second-floor deck, which I’ve always enjoyed because it gives me lots of places to hang bird feeders. I have two suet feeders hanging from opposite ends of the deck’s bottom support beam, but those were largely undisturbed except for the giant woodpecker-made holes in the suet cakes. The centrally located seed feeder was the problem.

My first theory was that a large bird such as a crow or a blue jay might be too large for the feeder and could have knocked it over. That theory was shot down later that day after I watched blue jay after blue jay come and feed from the feeder without it so much as tilting. Discouraged, I did what most great detectives do when searching for an answer: I took a nap.

The Squirrel Be-Gone feeder helps thwart seed thieves

Squirrel-proof feeders like the Squirrel Be-Gone feeder help thwart seed thieves

It wasn’t long before my slumber was broken by the sound of a thief. I opened my eyes and gasped in disbelief. Hanging upside down from the overhead deck was a squirrel – and this squirrel was on a mission. He slowly and methodically worked the feeder back and forth until the nylon rope holding the top of the feeder to the metal hanger loosened, tilting the feeder, spilling the seed, and sending the plastic feeder crashing down to the deck. And then the squirrel was gone, only to appear seconds later on the ground to collect his prize – my seeds!

The ninja-squirrel had won this battle, but he would not win the war. As it turns out, there are people smarter than squirrels (or me, obviously) who designed feeders to thwart these sneaky seed thieves. Squirrel-proof bird feeders such as the Squirrel Be-Gone Feeder have special features such as a weight-sensitive outer metal cage that is spring-loaded and closes off feeding ports when squirrels climb on, and a top baffle to prevent them from getting inside. I replaced my squirrel-scorned feeder with a new, fancy squirrel-proof feeder and thus, with little to no detective skills involved, solved the Case of the Mysterious Seed Thief! (cue dramatic ending music)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Norene Bartek October 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Loved this post. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what was drinking all the nectar from my hummingbird feeder, because I never saw any hummingbirds. Then one day I happened to look out the window, and there was a squirrel upside down sucking all the nectar out! They sure are brats!

Sarah November 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Great post, Keith!
You’re right…squirrels are irritating, and very clever, pests. I recently watched one hang upside down from my seed feeder chain, stuffing his face with sunflower seed until I opened the window to yell. Unfortunately, once I did that, he jumped off the feeder and made it spin around so fast that all the mixed seed (in the other half of the feeder) spun out and showered the ground. Sigh. Well, at least I have a lot of ground-feeding birds in my neighborhood.
I have since moved the feeder to a shepherd’s hook with a pole baffle. I truly hope the baffle does its job, since seed isn’t free and the birds are much more entertaining! Darn squirrels.

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