A Seedy Neighbourhood?
Bird feeders are popular investments and it isn’t difficult to see why. Enabling you to watch a wide variety of birds in your own garden, feeders are inexpensive and so provide hours of cheap entertainment! (Sorry!) But in your enthusiasm to feed the birds you could be causing a few issues.
All that food could be turning your property into a rather seedy neighbourhood!
Your feeders can spread disease if the food begins to rot. It is important that seed isn’t left hanging around in your feeders for too long so only put out what can be eaten in a few days. You can always top up the seed if it does all get gobbled up.
Keep your feeders clean and disinfected to prevent bacteria from prospering. We recommend giving your feeders a good scrub at least once every 14 days and you can finish the job off with a little mild disinfectant.
Separate Bird Feeders
Feeders attract many different species which is great for you but means that birds which do not normally come into contact with each other will be feeding in close proximity. Disease can then spread more easily. If you are providing different types of seeds, offer each variety in a separate feeder. This will keep the spread of disease to a minimum and should also stop aggressive species from bullying other birds out of a meal.
Sunflower hearts will attract the widest variety of species so if you only have one feeder, this should be your seed of choice. Niger seed is a great option if you want to see goldfinches and siskins and requires a feeder with narrow openings which means that bullying blackbirds won’t be able to get at the food.
Don’t leave discarded seed and husks on the floor to rot as this will seriously detract from the look of your garden and will provide an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and disease.
If you also offer food scraps, then you should be particularly careful about hygiene. If the scraps you put out are not eaten quickly, remove them or they will begin to rot. Spoiled food is hazardous to your feathered visitors. Keep dishes, plates and tables clean and disinfected and ensure that your bird bath is also clean and topped up with fresh water.
Squirrels and Cats
Your feeders and food scraps may attract unwanted visitors in the shape of squirrels and cats. Squirrel proof feeders will foil most rodents. Cats in the garden are certainly more problematic. Think carefully about where you hang your feeders. Those attached to tree branches and positioned near fences will make it all too easy for cats to pounce on the birds. A few thorny branches beneath your feeders provide a good feline deterrent. Ironically cats will scare off the squirrels though!