An unkempt bird feeder is a haven for diseases. Protect visiting birds by properly cleaning your feeder.
Healthy Birds at the Bird Feeder
Leftover moldy seeds, hulls and bird droppings can harbor diseases that can infect the birds at your bird feeder. Clean not only the basin but also the ground beneath it.
Accumulated waste is not only harmful to the birds, but it can attract rodents and make outside pets sick. Rake the ground and periodically move the bird feeder to reduce too much waste in one area.
Cleaning a Platform and Tube Bird Feeder
Every day, sweep off the seed hulls on the platform of a bird feeder. For a thorough cleaning, shake any seed out of the bird feeder. If you are cleaning a tube bird feeder, knock it on the ground to dislodge any stuck seed. Toss away any wet clumps.
Regularly wash the bird feeder in soapy water using mild dish soap. Make a cleaning solution of one part bleach to 9 parts water. Allow the feeder to dry completely before refilling with seed.
A bird feeder should be cleaned every 2 weeks. Never place a bird feeder in the dishwasher, and always wash your hands after handling a bird feeder.
Cleaning a Hummingbird Feeder
Make sure that your hummingbird feeder doesn’t have small parts and that it is easy to clean. This type of feeder must be cleaned regularly to keep it free of mold and yeasts. If your hummingbird feeder shows signs of mold, clean it immediately.
Clean a hummingbird feeder every 3 to 5 days or whenever you refill the nectar. Follow the same cleaning procedure for a this type of feeder as for a platform and tube feeder.
Seed in a Tube Bird Feeder
Only use hulled sunflower seeds in a tube bird feeder so the seed doesn’t get wet. Wet sunflower seeds will quickly spoil and rot.
Tips for a Healthy and Safe Bird Feeder
- When birds see a glass window, they think that they can fly through it. Locate your feeders at least 3 feet away from windows so birds don’t fly into them.
- Do not use grease or oil on the feeder poles to stop squirrels from getting to the seeds. This is harmful to birds as they can't rid themselves of the greasy substance once it is on their feathers.
- Do not use bee spray or any insecticides near hummingbird feeders. Keep bugs out of regular seed by storing it in a sealed container.
- If a hawk appears at your feeder, take it down for a few days. Eventually the hawk will look for food elsewhere. Hawks prey on other birds, so don’t place the bird feeder out in open where a hawk can see it.