If you elect to
feed birds in the backyard you should
recognize that with the fun and enjoyment comes
responsibility. While there are some basic tenents
to responsible bird feeding, conditions change from
location to location and day to day. Using your own
good judgement is the best approach. Here are a few
things to be considered when establishing your feeder
Clean your feeders as needed. Platform feeders will
need to be cleaned more often than tube feeders.
Feeders will need to be cleaned more often in warm,
damp weather than in cold, dry weather. Feeders
visited by obviously ill birds need to be cleaned
more often than usual. It is a good idea to clean
your feeders a couple of times a year even if no
obvious problems are present.
You can clean your
feeders with soap and water or even a 10% bleach
solution. Rinse thoroughly and dry before returning
Keep your seed/feed
Store your seed in sealed, dry containers. Do not
feed moldy seed. If the seed in your feeders is
moldy or overly compacted it should be removed and
your feeder cleaned.
Keep the area under and around your feeders
Excessive build-up of seed hulls and dropped seed
under your feeders can attract rodents, raccoons
and other animals. Use a screen under your feeders
to catch the dropped seed and hulls or rake and
clean the area under your feeders regularly.
Birdbaths should be rinsed and the water replaced
on a weekly basis. Replacing the water on a weekly
basis prevents the development of mosquitoes and
keeps it fresh for the birds. Occasionally clean
your birdbath with a 10% bleach and water solution.
designs incorporate a filter and recirculation
system and do not need to be cleaned as
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning your feeders and
Do not use window-mounted feeders in the spring. As
birds start to defend their territories
window-mounted feeders may increase the number of
birds injured by flying into windows.
Bird houses and nest
If you elect to set up nesting boxes, including
bluebird boxes and purple martin houses, be aware
that you have a responsibility to manage the nest
boxes. House sparrows and starlings adapt readily
to nest boxes, much to the detriment of native
species. Learn to recognize house
and make sure they do not use your nest boxes. This
includes removing nesting material and even the
eggs or baby birds of these two species.
When setting up a
purple martin house the most important
consideration is the pole or mounting arrangement.
You will need to easily be able to raise and lower
the martin house to remove any house sparrows or
starlings that try to establish their
Be aware of special
In some areas raccoons, opossums, deer and even bears can be attracted to feeders. Be aware of what's going on in your area in both the daytime
and at night. In some cases you may need to stop feeding for awhile or
bring your feeders in at night.