You might all be wondering, why would a backyard kind of guy like myself be discussing spring cleaning? What does cleaning your house have to do with backyard fun?
Well, please allow me to explain.
For those of you that know me well, you know that I really am a summer type of guy. I always have been and always will be. There is however one backyard activity that I do enjoy during the winter months. Well… besides playing with the grandkids that is.
I really do enjoy our backyard birds all year-long.
If you are a bird watcher like we are and enjoy watching your fine feathered friends all year-long, then you might want to consider taking some time every spring to practice some proper bird care. To me, that is what spring maintenance is all about.
We have always believed that bird safety is an important equation to enjoying your backyard. It really does make sense to take proper care of the birds in your yard and depending on how involved a bird watcher you are, you could have a few items that you might need to clean up every spring.
So… when you are planning time for your spring cleaning, you should also remember to clean your bird houses, feeders and baths as well.
If you didn’t clean your bird houses last fall after all the birds left, then now is the time to do so. Here are some things you should do to make sure your bird houses are ready for the new arrivals this spring.
- First of all, if you have followed me at all, you will probably have a bird house with a hinged roof. This just makes it easier to get at the old nest in there and clean things out.
- Using rubber gloves, lift the roof of your bird house up and clean out the old nest and any loose material still left over.
- Make a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water to clean your bird house. Yes it is safe. This will clean the house and prevent disease. Remember bird safety is the goal here.
- Using a stiff bristled brush scrub the inside of the bird house with the solution that you made. Be sure to clean the house thoroughly.
- Once you have finished cleaning your bird houses, rinse them off thoroughly using just water. As long as you rinse the houses well, using the bleach solution is no problem at all.
- Make sure your houses are completely dry though before you put them back up.
There are so many different types of bird feeders out there for sale and they all should be cleaned from time to time. Depending on the feeders you are using, after a while, you will have bird droppings and old decomposing seeds at the bottom of your feeder. This all breeds disease that will hurt your birds.
However taking some time to do a little spring maintenance on your feeders will go a long way to keeping your birds healthy, safe and coming back year after year.
There are a number of feeders on the market today.
Platform feeders are just what they say and rather straight forward. Same with window feeders. Hopper and house type feeders are usually harder to get at depending on their design and of course you have the tube feeders just to name a few.
In most cases, unless your feeder is in really bad shape, you can get by with a stiff brush and soapy water to clean them out. Depending on the type of feeder you have, you may have to lift the roof off or in the case of a tube feeder take it apart, but cleaning them out is not a big chore.
If your feeders have gotten really bad, then I would suggest using a cleaning solution that consists of 9 parts water and 1 part bleach to soak your feeder in. In this case, once you have cleaned the feeder with soapy water, just soak the feeder in this solution for a few minutes. Maybe 10 to 15 minutes will do just fine.
Be sure to rinse your feeders out thoroughly when you have finished cleaning them and be sure they have completely dried out before you use them again.
Another thing to remember when cleaning your feeders is to clean the ground below them. The seeds and droppings that have fallen to the ground will decompose as well and some birds will eat off of the ground, so if you really care about bird safety in your backyard, do clean up the mess there as well.
Hopefully you have cleaned these up last fall before you put them away however I do know how busy we can all get and I do know how time can get away from us all, so if you didn’t clean them last fall, then when you are doing your spring cleaning is a perfect time to get this done and here is how you do it.
If you have followed me at all and have taken my advice, then you will probably have a hummingbird feeder that is easy to take apart. Because of the solution you make to feed them and depending on the air temperature outside, their food can get moldy quite quickly and if you have tight spots in the feeder it could be difficult to get to the mold.
Usually you can use a solution consisting of 1 part white vinegar and 4 parts water to soak you feeder in. While soaking you can use a brush to make sure you get it completely clean.
If you have waited too long and the feeder is really bad you can us a solution consisting of 1/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water to clean your feeders. Soak the feeders in the solution for a while and then try to brush out the mold. Be sure to use rubber gloves.
In each case, no matter what solution you have used, be sure that you rinse your feeders completely before you use them.
Whether you have a heated bird bath that you have used all winter long or an unheated one that you are going to begin using again, I would make cleaning them out as part of your spring cleaning routine.
Just use a stiff brush and hot soapy water to clean them out. Again be sure to rinse them well before you use them.
So… get all your spring maintenance and bird care chores completed early and then just sit back and enjoy your backyard birds.