how to keep area under bird feeder clean

I can bet with pretty good accuracy that most people are not cleaning their bird feeders correctly. It’s easy to think that the rain or a quick rinse with a hose will sufficiently wash and sanitize your feeders and birdbaths. It was only when I began to do serious research that I learned that dirty bird feeding stations are hotbeds of disease which can seriously impact our feathered friends – and sometimes humans and their pets, too.

Our bird feeding stations and water sources are places where birds gather. Some in great numbers. Those groups create the mechanisms for the spread of disease. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, common illnesses picked up at feeders and sometimes contaminated water includes House Finch Eye Disease, Avian Pox, and Salmonellosis. In May 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 29 people in 12 U.S. States were sickened and 14 hospitalized in 2021 by Salmonella originating from dirty bird feeders. The summer of 2021 also saw a mystery illness sweep through several Mid-Atlantic states killing mostly young songbirds and leading to a temporary ban on bird feeding. Making sure your bird feeders and water sources are regularly cleaned with a 10% bleach solution is key to helping mitigate the spread. Other practices like eliminating seed waste on the ground, cleaning rails, banisters, or other surfaces where birds gather; purchasing feeders with easy-to-clean designs; and remembering to maintain your birdbaths frequently will make a huge difference to the health of your birding eco-system.

4. Get in the Nooks & Crannies

It’s crucial to disassemble your feeders and clear out any leftover seed, mold, or material to ensure that your feeder is fresh and prepared for fresh bird seed. Moldy birdseed can sicken and kill birds. Fecal matter residue can infect humans and their pets in addition to other birds.

Take the time to carefully clean anything stuck on the inside or outside of your feeder. Brushes like these can help to get into difficult-to-reach spaces.

1. Clean Bird Feeders Regularly

Cleaning your bird feeders on a regular basis is a necessary but sometimes overlooked housekeeping task for any responsible backyard birdwatcher. Put a note on your calendar. Set up a reminder on your cell phone. Cleaning your feeders should be done at least every two weeks, or once a week if there is a lot of traffic in the feeding areas.

Increase the frequency of your cleanings during hot, humid weather since it can encourage the growth of mold.

3. Avoid “Natural” Cleaners

There’s good reason to be concerned about our influence on the environment. Caustic cleaners can be dangerous to ourselves and the earth. However, you must use a scientific cleaning method to prevent diseases from spreading to people, domesticated animals, and our wild animal friends. If you’re using a cleaner other than the diluted bleach solution that professionals advise, make sure it has the right amount of disinfecting power by carefully reading the label.

You don’t want to only clean and sanitize your feeder. Additionally, you should disinfect it by eliminating disease-causing pathogens.

A disinfectant is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a solution that can kill 99 9 percent of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. So does vinegar measure up as an effective birdfeeder cleaner?.

Many of the bacteria on bird feeders would not be killed by a simple vinegar soak, not even by a prolonged one. Thus, it’s best to follow the 2010 bleach solution that the majority of knowledgeable birding experts recommend.

  • A great way to get rid of bird droppings from railings, patio furniture, decks, and other surfaces is with Poop-Off.
  • With this brush set, you’ll have all you need to maintain the cleanliness and freshness of your bird feeders.


What can I put under my bird feeder to keep weeds away?

Using a seed tray under your feeder can help prevent the mess. It can even help attract a greater variety of birds to your backyard feeder. Birds aren’t always the neatest diners. And if seeds are knocked out of your bird feeder onto the ground, weeds might start springing up around your feeder site.

Will birds poop under bird feeder?

Birds drop their feces whenever they take off or while feeding, so the ground under bird feeders and the feeders themselves, especially those with trays to catch the seed, can get very messy and become a breeding ground for bacteria and food poisoning.

Where should you not hang a bird feeder?

Hang your bird feeder away from trees, bushes, fences or buildings. Squirrels and other predators may use these to climb or jump onto the bird feeder. If you must hang the bird feeder on a tree, keep it at least six feet from the trunk or the tree limbs.