It’s time to move your spring cleaning efforts to the backyard. Assess all the bird feeders in your yard. Bird feeders with cracks and crevices are difficult to sanitize and should be replaced.
Clean your feeders and birdbaths every few weeks using brushes. Use a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water), but rinse thoroughly and allow feeders to dry completely before refilling. Wash your hands and arms thoroughly with soap and water after filling or cleaning bird feeders or birdbaths. Do not eat, drink or smoke while filling or cleaning bird feeders and birdbaths.
Birdhouses should also be cleaned and repaired for the upcoming nesting season.
Tidy feeding tips include using trays to catch falling seeds and hulls; using a seed blend with no hulls; feed suet, fruit, nectar, and mealworms to keep feeding areas tidy. Spread mulch or regularly rake underneath feeders.
Keep your birdseed fresh and dry and always provide food in a feeder, not scattered on the ground. Use special products to keep seed fresh and mold free. Don’t overfeed. Put out enough seed for 2 to 3 days of use. Store seed properly in a metal or heavy plastic container.
Provide multiple feeding stations in different areas of your yard. When birds crowd at feeders, they can become stressed and more vulnerable to disease. Place feeders either less than 4 feet or more than 10 feet away from windows so birds are less likely to hit a window when fleeing a predator. When birds are less than 4 feet away from a window, they are not at top speed yet when fleeing a predator and when they are more than 10 feet away, they have time to swerve before hitting a window. Place bird-repelling decals on windows to lessen the chance of bird strikes.
Sit back in your yard, deck or patio and enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of backyard birds and nature. It’s a great hobby that all generations can share.
Happy bird feeding!
Kathy and her husband, John, own and operate the Wild Birds Unlimited store, located in Billings and at www.wbu.com/billings. Kathy is a certified bird-feeding specialist and past president of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society.