Proper Bird Feeder Care is Important to Bird Health

The recent  Gazette article regarding a pigeon virus infecting Eurasian-collar Doves serves as a harsh reminder that our actions can negatively affect the natural world around us. This begins in our own backyard.

It is essential for those who enjoy the hobby of backyard bird feeding to understand the importance of proper feeding methods to promote bird health. Keeping your bird feeders clean may be important in reducing the spread of Bird Illnesses. Also, using specifically designed bird feeders can eliminate the spread of bacteria from sick birds.

Individuals who feed the birds follow these bird feeding tips:

  • Provide multiple feeding stations in different areas of your yard. When birds crowd at feeders, they can    become stressed and more vulnerable to disease.
  • Keep seed fresh and dry.
  • Always wash your hands after filling or cleaning your feeders.
  • Provide fresh water and clean your bird bath regularly.
  • Disinfect your feeders with a 10% bleach solution if your feeders are moldy or you find a dead bird that has not been killed by a predator.

While the first instinct may be to remove bird feeders and water, it may not serve the bird population as a whole. In late winter, we approach a crucial time for birds when natural food resources are depleted. This is the time when songbirds depend heavily on bird feeding stations for energy. The best practice is to clean bird feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution whenever you find a dead bird near a feeder that has not been killed by a predator.

Encourage your neighbors who feed birds to follow the same precautions. Birds normally move among feeders and can spread diseases as they go. The safest bird feeders will be those in communities where neighbors cooperate with equal concern for the health of the birds. Happy Bird Feeding!

(Kathy and her husband, John, own and operate the Wild Birds Unlimited, located at 111 S. 24th St. West in Billings.