Would you want to eat at a restaurant with a low inspection score? Well, neither do birds! And in summer’s heat and rain, bird restaurants – the feeders in our backyards – can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria and disease.
Keep feeders clean, and your backyard “restaurant ratings” up, with these tips from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, part of the state Department of Natural Resources:
- Clean bird feeders at least once a month with a nonabrasive glass cleaner or bleach. Also, check seed feeders often during damp weather, discarding seeds that are clumped or show signs of mold or fungus.
- Be sure to rinse feeders thoroughly after each cleaning to get rid of any cleanser residue, which can be harmful to birds. Dry feeders before refilling them.
- Rotate seed feeders to different sites to ensure minimal build-up of droppings below. Ground-feeding birds like cardinals and towhees, which feed from seeds around feeders, can contract diseases from fecal matter. Remove damp or moldy seeds.
- During summer, hummingbird feeder solution should be changed two to three times a week because the heat causes sugar solutions to become riddled with bacteria and mold, which can be transferred to hummingbirds.
Following these recommendations will keep your feeders healthy for birds and provide excellent wildlife-watching opportunities for you. Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/BackyardWildlife for more information on Georgia’s watchable wildlife.
Also, support conservation of birds and other wildlife by purchasing a new bald eagle license plate, or renewing one of the older eagle or hummingbird plates. A share of proceeds goes to the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, created by state law to conserve rare and other wildlife not hunted or fished for, from gopher frogs to bald eagles, as well as native plants and natural habitats.
Learn more about these wild tags – including the newest design of a bald eagle in flight – and other ways to conserve Georgia wildlife at www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support.