Time to Get Ready to Feed the Birds!
Now that a chill is in the air, it's time to dig out all your bird feeders and get them cleaned up and ready for the winter birds.
Cleaning and Disinfecting:
It is very important to clean and sanitize your feeders before filling them and setting them out in the late fall. Dirty feeders can spread potentially harmful bacteria, mold, parasites, and diseases throughout wild bird populations. Here are some tips for cleaning:
- Clean your bird feeders on a regular basis, at least once a month, to keep them safe and attractive to your wild bird friends.
- Wearing rubber gloves and eye protection, wash your feeders with a mild solution of unscented dish detergent and warm water. You can also find commercial bird feeder cleaning solutions in full service garden centers.
- A 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts warm water) can also be used to clean and disinfect your feeders.
- Use a stiff brush (a long-handled bottle brush works well on tube feeders) to scrub off dirt and mold. A toothbrush can be a handy tool for scrubbing the feeding ports and other small parts.
- Rinse well with warm water after washing.
- Allow the feeders to dry THOROUGHLY before filling with seed.
A Variety of Feeders Attract a Variety of Birds!
One of the tricks to attracting different kinds of birds to your home is to provide a variety of feeders and food choices (great gift ideas!!).
- Platform feeders will attract ground feeding birds such as juncos, mourning doves, and sparrows.
- Tube and hopper style feeders filled with black-oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, millet or a combination of these will bring in the chickadees, titmice, cardinals, grosbeaks, and both white-breasted and red-breasted nuthatches.
- Thistle seed feeders are wonderful for attracting all kinds of finches.
- Suet feeders attract many different species of woodpeckers as well as nuthatches, chickadees, and wrens.
Provide a Source of Water
In addition to a variety of feeders, it is very important to provide a source of clean fresh water for the birds throughout the winter. We use a simple birdbath heater to keep our big water trough from freezing. The bluebirds especially love it and flock around this open water source all winter long!
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