In the winter, fresh snow often makes birdfeeders seem clean and neat, even though beneath that snow there may be pounds of discarded hulls, molding seeds and bird droppings. By spring cleaning your birdfeeders, you can eliminate the winter mess and be ready for migrating birds, spring nestlings and new birds attracted to your clean and healthy backyard.
Birdfeeder Spring Cleaning
The first step in getting your birdfeeders ready for spring is to give them a thorough cleaning and proper disinfecting. In addition to cleaning the feeders…
- Check for cracks or chips in the feeder that could allow spring rains to enter. Moisture will cause seed to rot and spoiled seed can spread diseases to backyard birds.
- Check feeding perches and ports for stability and security. Repair or replace feeders as necessary.
- Check for insect damage and rot on wooden feeders and ensure that screws are tight and the feeders are secure.
- Check the feeder’s stability on the pole or chain. Look for loose connections, rust, flaking and wobbling. As more birds visit the feeder in the spring, an unstable feeder can collapse.
- Consider replacing winter feeders with larger feeders for spring and summer. Larger feeders can accommodate more birds at once and will hold larger quantities of seed, making refills less frequent.
- Inspect stored seed for signs of spoilage, and move storage containers to a convenient location for easy access and frequent feeder refills.
Cleaning the ground beneath feeders is essential for birds’ health. Birds will not be attracted to a dirty feeding station, and by cleaning up underneath the feeders you ensure a better environment for your backyard birds.
- Rake beneath feeders to loosen spilled seed, hulls, dead grass and other debris that has become frozen during the winter. Remove all the debris and discard or compost it appropriately.
- Use an outdoor vacuum to gather all seed beneath feeders. As the ground continues to thaw, it may take several days to thoroughly clean up all debris.
- If the feeder is placed in a flower bed or patch of mulch, inspect the mulch for mold and rot and replace it if necessary. Birds will scratch through mulch to retrieve spilled seeds and contaminated mulch can be a health hazard.
- If your birdseed sprouts, consider adding weed control fabric beneath the feeder to control growth. Alternatively, investigate no-sprout birdseed mixes.
More Spring Feeder Cleaning Tips
To attract even more birds to your backyard, it must be a pleasant and inviting habitat. While clean feeders and feeding areas are critical, these other spring cleaning tips can help entice even more birds to visit.
- Add extra feeders to the yard or create a new feeding station. Many bird species prefer more personal space when feeding, and giving them more room will reduce the risk of spreading diseases among the birds.
- Prune trees and shrubs and add the clippings to a brush pile to give birds shelter. Any size brush pile can be useful and adding clippings each year will keep it suitable for the birds.
- Clean out and inspect nesting boxes to prepare for breeding season. Comfortable, safe birdhouses are more likely to become home to multiple broods throughout the spring and summer.
- Put out a bird bath or remove heating elements from winter bird baths to give birds more space for drinking and bathing. If possible, choose a bath with a bubbler or other moving water to attract even more birds.
By performing these simple tasks as the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, you will keep your backyard attractive and inviting, making it home to many enjoyable backyard birds for the spring and summer.