You are here


Housekeeping for the Birds


Bird watching is a simple, fun, and relaxing hobby that anyone, young or old, can participate in and this time or year there's nothing better than watching colorful birds flit around your backyard. Anyone can provide a cozy little haven where birds will come to feed and perhaps eventually live simply by adding a feeder and even a bird house. But it's important to keep feeders and houses clean to avoid serious diseases. To keep your backyard friends happy and healthy, follow these simple steps:

For the cleanest, healthiest and most attractive feeders, clean at least once a month. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned each time the nectar is refilled.

Clean All Feeder Parts - for best results and disease prevention, feeders should be cleaned inside and out, including all feeding ports, perches, lids, platforms and reservoirs. Feeder hooks, poles and any other part where birds may perch or where droppings may accumulate should also be cleaned.

Cleaning Solution - add a teaspoon of liquid soap to a bucket of water big enough for the feeder to soak. Soak the feeder and all the removable parts in the soap solution for ten minutes.

Cleaning Equipment - use a scrubbing brush and gloves to remove any stuck-on debris. Most Birdfeeder and pet supply stores have specialized brushes for different sizes and shapes of feeders; however, regular bottle brushes can also be used. Use an old toothbrush for cleaning small parts, feeding ports and tight corners.

Rinse Thoroughly - rinse the feeder in clean water.

Soak in Vinegar Solution - empty the bucket and fill it with clean water and four cups of vinegar. Soak for one hour.

Final Rinse - rinse the feeder again with clean water.

Now is the time to make sure your bird houses are clean and ready for the new houseguests. Most birdhouses are built so that you can take either the roof or the floor off for easy cleaning. Some have sliding sides, but most houses have some type of access for cleaning.

Empty out last year’s nests, and wipe the box down with a mild bleach solution. Replace the roof (or floor) and hang the box back up so it’s ready for a new brood of baby birds.

Seed Storing Tip: Keep extra seed dry, free of mold, and safe from squirrels by storing it in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, such as a clean garbage can. Discard damp seed. In wet weather, put out only enough seed to last several hours.

Filed Under: