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Bird Feeder Care

Keep your feeders clean to help prevent the spread of avian diseases.

1. Check the seeds
When refilling hopper feeders, tube feeders, etc., make sure any remaining seed is free of mold or mildew. The seed should also be loose in the container, not compacted, so it can flow easily to the feeding areas.

2. Don’t feed too much
Remove old seed or other feed from platform feeders on a regular basis. Try to limit platform feeders to a one or two-day supply.

When feeding on the ground do not disperse more than is consumed in a day or two. Experience will teach you how much to use.

3. Keep feeders clean
If mold or mildew becomes apparent, or the feeders are becoming dirty or soiled, they should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before refilling. Feeders can be soaked in a water/bleach solution (one part bleach to 9 parts water) and then scrubbed well. Dry and rinse the feeders well before refilling. You can also use a soap and water mix, rinse completely.

If you see diseased birds coming to your feeders on a regular basis remove your feeders for couple of weeks to reduce the spread of disease. Clean well before returning the feeders to service.

4. Wash after feeding
It is good practice to wash your hands after putting out seed and cleaning feeders.

5. Clean under feeders
Large piles of dropped seeds and hulls may attract rodents or begin to germinate. To prevent problems rake the area below fixed feeders on a regular basis.  Place mulch, bark chips, etc. under the feeders to help keep the area clean.

Consider placing pave or patio stones under feeders. Not only decorative, they make it easier to sweep up or vacuum seed hulls.

6. Consider a seed tray
Placing a seed tray under a hanging feeder will capture dropped seeds and hulls, making clean up easier.

tube feeder with cage

Tube feeder with cage and seed trade.

7. Download this PDF document
6 Steps to turn your yard into a sanctuary for birds – Published by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry.

Quick Hits

Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks feed on other birds. They will sometimes hang around feeders in hopes of capturing an easy meal.  They only take what they need to eat, so they are not going to eat any more song birds by visiting your feeder station.  If you are concerned, take down your feeders for 3-4 weeks.  The raptors will usually move on.