How do I clean bird feeders and baths?
Ideally bird feeders and baths should be cleaned thoroughly every two to four weeks. Regular cleaning helps to minimize the spreading of infectious diseases among birds. By cleaning, you are also removing any mould or harmful bacteria that, if eaten, can make birds sick.
To clean bird feeders properly, remove all new seeds, mouldy seeds and any decomposing matter. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) suggests rinsing the feeder of any remaining debris with water, then scrubbing the feeder well and soaking it in a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) for 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the feeder thoroughly and allow it to completely dry before refilling – this will help to prevent new seeds from rotting.
Once dry, feeders should be restocked only partially, then refilled often so that birds have a constant supply of fresh seeds. Regular refilling also reduces the chance of seeds rotting or getting wet. Use ground trays, so that any fallen seed can be captured and easily removed. Old rotten seeds on the ground can not only make birds sick, but they can also attract unwanted visitors, such as raccoons and skunks, to the feeders.
To clean hummingbird feeders, you can use the same technique but on a more regular basis: once a week rather than every two to four weeks. The reason behind a weekly cleaning is that sugar solution spoils very quickly and can easily contaminate feeders. Remember to change the sugar water in the feeder every three to five days, especially during the warm summer months.
To clean bird baths, first remove the existing supply of water, then scrub and wash with a dilution of bleach and water (1 part to 10 parts, respectively). Make sure to rinse the bath well so that no bleach residue remains.
Bird-bath water should be changed regularly (every two to three days). To help keep the water cleaner longer, consider placing your bird bath in a shady spot – this will minimize algae growth in the water.
Do not place the bird bath next to your bird feeder or below trees or shrubs where pieces of foliage and seed can fall in and dirty the water.
Need more help?
Le Nichoir now has hummingbird-feeder cleaning kits for sale – these kits make cleaning these feeders an easier task. Find out more by visiting the Centre or call us at 450 458 2809.