Finally, it appears spring has sprung and with it sunny skies, cool breezes and the return of many birds that left us to winter in warmer places.

Think Grandma and Grandpa post retirement, but with feathers.

And while it’s nice to see the robins prancing on our lawns and the song sparrows singing on the tops of our trees, it’s also time to remember that your bird feeders should be cleaned, and cleaned often.

According to The Cornell Lab’s Feeder Watch blog, diseases are a common problem on dirty feeders and can cause eye disease along with a host of other problems for our feathered friends. So, keeping that feeder clean is of importance.

The Cornell Lab recommends you take apart feeders and hand wash either with soap and boiling water or with a dilute bleach solution (no more than one part bleach to nine parts water then rinse thoroughly and allow to dry) before refilling at least once every two weeks.

For hummingbird feeders (which you should be putting up now, by the way, since our ruby-throated jet-like pals are making their way into Virginia as you read this) the lab recommends you change the sugar water every three to five days to prevent mold and deadly fermentation. Clean hummingbird feeders at least once a week with hot water and a bottle brush. Don’t use soap or a detergent. You can also clean hummingbird feeders by filling with a diluted bleach solution, but make sure to rinse them thoroughly and allow them to air dry before refilling.

According to SIERRA, the magazine of the Sierra Club, backyard bird watching took off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many of us were working from home. If you’ve stuck with the hobby, making sure your bird feeders are clean will make sure your backyard visitors are healthy.

Oh, and don’t forget to store the seed where unwanted visitors can’t get to it.

(1) comment


I never realized how many colorful, beautiful birds inhabit our little corner of Virginia until installing a couple of bird feeders several years ago. We hang them right outside the window so that our indoor cats can watch the birds. They entertain themselves for hours this way.

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