Caring For Bird Feeders and Baths

Clean bird feeders and bird baths are as important to wild birds as clean dishes are to humans. Grimy bird feeders and baths can be a source of contamination that can be fatal to birds. Please help to spread the word about the need for clean, healthy wild bird feeders. Dirty bath water and feeders can cause wild birds to contact disease, leading to sickness and or death.

Sometimes elements of nature, such as forceful rain can cause moisture to enter feeders that normally wouldn't have a problem with dampness spoiling seeds. Spoiled seeds will discourage wild birds from using your feeding stations and cause a harmful build up of mold. In some circumstances birds may contaminate the seeds with droppings.

What To Look For

Feeder: With so many feeders on the market, how do you choose the best one? Well, one of the first considerations is durability, the thing has got to last. It needs to be well built, so it can withstand a fall. And it should be resistant to the weather, rust and squirrels. I also look for one that holds a lot of seed, so I don't have to refill it so often.

Bath: There are a few things to consider when you place a bird bath on your lawn or in your garden. Birds prefer shallow water (no more than 1-2 inches). If the water is deeper than that they will avoid it out of fear. Also, the bottom of the bird bath should have a fairly rough surface. Birds feel more comfortable when they have a solid footing.

When it comes to both feeders and bird baths, the need to keep them clean is essential for the birds and the environment. The reasons are obvious and simple. Bird baths are regularly contaminated with bird droppings, feather algae, dust and dirt blown in from around the yard.

Healthy Tips

Bird Feeder

  • When filling or cleaning a feeder it is best to use some type of gloves to protect your hands. Leather gloves can be used when filling the feeder, and rubber gloves can be used when cleaning the feeders. Of course when you are done cleaning or filling your feeder, always wash your hands in hot soapy water
  • Cleaning of birdhouses should be done once a year at a minimum. The best time would be after the birds have finished breeding. The old nesting material should be removed and the house scrubbed with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. The inside part should be rinsed well and be allowed to dry completely before closing up. Thorough look over of the house should be done to make sure that the hardware is still firmly in place and the panels are not falling apart.

Bird Bath

After you have found the most appropriate location for your bird bath and installed it, you can then concentrate on attracting the birds to it. Having a ready supply of food nearby is an excellent way to attract your feathered friends. If you keep a well-stocked bird feeder near the bird bath they will eat their fill and then splash around in the water for a few minutes. Your new bird bath will be a wonderful addition to your lawn and garden in the winter time as well as the summer. Although most plants go dormant in the winter, birds continue to need a water source and many local streams and ponds may well be frozen over and not provide the water they need in order to survive and remain healthy. Also, there are different species of birds around in the winter time as opposed to the summer. Be sure to keep your bird bath free of ice and filled with water during cold weather. The water is useless to birds if it is only available as a block of ice

  • Always be sure to keep the bird bath clean. Dirt and waste can make birds sick. Also, birds need a steady supply of clean, cool water in order to remain healthy.
  • Re-supply the bird bath with fresh water often during the hot summer months. Water evaporates quickly and it is splashed away to the ground by the birds

Pat Mulford •