For the Birds

   I love to watch birds at my feeder.  I just didn’t realize it was going to add another thing to clean to my cleaning list.  It makes sense however so I may as well get the cleaning supplies out and take one for the birds.


Keep birds healthy; Clean feeders regularly (April 13, 2009)


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging people with bird feeders to take several steps to keep birds healthy. 

“Moldy birdseed and unclean bird feeders can cause birds to become sick,” said Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame wildlife program supervisor. “In wet weather, it is common for mold or bacteria to form on wet birdseed either in the feeder or on the ground. Mold can cause fatal avian diseases.”


Henderson said people should rake or sweep up fallen seeds and seed hulls under feeders to prevent bacteria from occurring on the ground.

He offered the following additional tips to minimize the threat of disease:

  • Clean a bird feeder, use a solution of two ounces of bleach with one gallon of water and scrub the entire surface.
  • Allow the cleaned feeder to dry out in the sun; sunlight will help kill bacteria on the feeder.
  • Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned about every week to ten days during the summer.
  • Keep the feed dry by using a hopper-type or a fly-through feeder and always scrape out old seed that has accumulated.

More information on attracting and feeding birds is available in “Wild about Birds: The DNR Bird Feeding Guide” and in “Landscaping for Wildlife.” Both books are for sale at Minnesota’s Bookstore or toll free 800-657-3757.

The production of these books was made possible by donations to the Nongame Wildlife Fund on state income and property tax forms.