A dirty bird feeder is not only an eyesore but also extremely dangerous for our feathery friends. The perfect place for bacteria, mould, and other harmful diseases to grow and flourish. If our bird friends eat seed from a dirty, contaminated feeder, they will most likely get sick and spread the illness to other birds. They may get it from your unkempt feeder but will spread it from yard-to-yard as they go to other feeders to snack and can potentially wipe out nesting colonies if left unchecked.
Just like we wouldn’t eat off of dirty plates or drink from dirty glasses, our bird friends shouldn’t be expected to either!
With dirty feeders come spoiled seeds. In Seed 101, we briefly talked about how detrimental bad seed is for our feathery friends but, what about our Birders? Bad seed and dirty feeders pose a lot of other problems besides being harmful to our backyard birds. It also attracts unwanted visitors, big and small. The foul odours unclean feeders produce can attract all sorts of insects, mice, and other unwelcome wildlife. This can also lead to damage and unsafe feeders, meaning you need to replace them far more frequently.
Such an easy task, with products you have under your kitchen sink and in your pantry, means healthy and happy birds! By keeping your feeders clean and your seed fresh, you will attract more feathery friends than you’d expect.
- Choose an easy to clean feeder. With so many flashy feeders on the market, sometimes we get caught up in the glitz and the glamour but, picking an easy to clean feeder will make it so much easier for you to maintain good cleaning habits. (If you need help selecting a feeder check out this blog post we put together)
- CLEAN THEM REGULARLY! The more often you clean your feeders the easier it is to do. You should be cleaning your seed feeders at least once a month, and when there is more traffic to them even more often than that. Your nectar or fruit feeders should be cleaned when the nectar runs out, or the fruit is spent, OR once a week. Whichever comes first.
- Use proper, animal friendly cleaning solutions. Unscented dish soap, or animal friendly dish soap is your friend.
- SOAK and then scrub. Let the residue and stuck on seed get soft before you put in a lot of elbow grease with little reward. Let the warm water and soap do the hard work so you don’t have to.
- Clean ALL parts. Don’t skip on the perches, or that little nook or cranny that “can wait until next time”, get it done now.
- Gather all the proper cleaning equipment. See Checklist:
Last but certainly not least, clean all the areas surrounding your bird feeders. Remove any damp/discarded seeds from beneath your feeders, remove any rotten fruit, refresh your mulch or gravel, and keep those bird baths/fountains clean!
Get that gunk and happy cleaning!