Birds Can Fall Ill From Using Poorly Designed and Filthy Bird Feeders

Just like people, birds can fall prey to illness. Many times these diseases come from other birds, which may have fed at the same time or just before other birds came to a feeder. Little did you or did the birds know  they

Excerpt from Hopper Bird Feeder Plans showing hopper, the roof like cover or lid, and the feeding area around the bottom of the hopper

Hopper Bird Feeder Designs Showing Roof Like Cover and Feeding Area

would leave your feeder on the way to sickness or even death. We can’t prevent sickness in birds anymore than we can stop it in ourselves, but we can certainly take precautionary measures to protect our bird visitors. As with humans, cleanliness is the first and biggest step toward being healthy, so regular cleaning of the feeder is very important. Another way your birds can fall ill is when they eat spoiled food. Usually, moisture from dew or rain is the cause for bird feed to spoil. The moisture can cause the uneaten food to become damp, which can lead to fungus and mold as well as to the general decay of the feed due to micro-organisms. In earlier posts, we’ve touched on, but haven’t thoroughly covered this critical issue, so we’ll take this opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of certain feeders and what you can do to keep them as healthy as possible for the birds you love.

There are certain features in the bird feeder plans you use that are critical to your birds’ health too, so let’s get started on learning the best practices for keeping your birds healthy. Platform or Tray feeders are easy to use for setting out virtually any kind of food out for your birds, but are the one design most open to the weather and to other animals and the waste they might leave while feeding on left over bird food. Not that birds don’t leave bird waste, they certainly do.

Platform and Tray feeders have the birds walking all over the food and leaving droppings in the process. As such, this type feeder needs cleaning daily and you should try to match the amount of food placed each morning with what the birds consume each day. Then, perform this daily cleaning at the end of every day in order to keep the other animals away at night. Make a diluted bleach solution to actually wipe the feeding area down about once every two or three months, and more often if it is rainy during the summers where you live.

Tube Feeders and Hopper Feeders should be checked periodically in the tube and the hopper for clumps of bird seed that has become moist and stuck together. This clumps of seed should be removed. Always try to check these types of feeders after a rain storm or rainy spell of weather.

Upside Down Suet Feeder with Roof Like Covering Over a Hardware Cloth Protected Suet Cake

Upside Down Suet Feeder With Roof Like Cover and Hardware Cloth Protected Suet Cake

Bird Feeder Plans should be chosen which have covers in the form of a roof over the hopper and which extends out over the feeding area around the hopper bottom. After any stormy weather the seed should be checked for moisture in the both the hopper and around the openings on the tube. These feeders should be cleaned periodically especially the area around the bottom of the hopper and any small areas where the birds can pull seed out of the tube while feeding.

If you are using a suet feeder, it is recommended you use bird feeder plans which have a design which protects the suet area under a roof like cover. See previous articles for the upside down suet feeder and the suet feeder built like a little house with a roof, and a tray around the caged suet area. During the winter, tending to these feeders is mainly an effort to keep the feeder supplied, but in the summer suet feeders need regular attention to make sure birds don’t feed on rancid suet or suet cakes. This is especially true in the south where the summers can be quite hot. A good rule for summer and suet feeders is to place them in shade in order to keep them as cool as possible.

Different Bird Feeders Attract Different Birds

What type of wooden bird feeder plans to choose is the most important question for you to answer!  That is, if you care which kinds of birds you are inviting to

Actual illustration of a page from a set of suet bird feeder plans

Illustrative Page: Suet Bird Feeder Plans

your backyard.  If you want to see yellow finches, you certainly won’t want a suet bird feeder.  Learn more and read on.

Briefly,  finches and other smaller birds enjoy feeding from a tube feeder and love thistle or Nyjer seed.  Hopper feeders are great for holding bird seed and sunflower seeds and will attract many different varieties of birds which like seed.  Those include bluebirds, wrens and jays, both small and larger species.  Suet feeders, or feeders with hard beef fat in them, are popular with cardinals, woodpeckers, and other species which generally feed on insects.  Finally, hummingbirds enjoy their own special hummingbird feeder which is really nothing but a container with tube-like holes going down into a sugar water solution given hummingbirds feed on the sweet nectar produced by flowers.

To be sure, different varieties of birds have completely different appetites.   In order to attract the type of birds you’d like into your backyard, you’ll need to be familiar with what your favorite birds like to eat.  Once you know that, you’ll know which type of wooden bird feeder plans to buy.

Once you’ve finished building your bird feeder, soon you’ll see your favorite birds arriving.  Unfortunately, along with your feathered friends, will come other animals who also would love to eat your birds’ food.

While any number of different animals will want to share your birds’ food, the most common will be the pesky and determined squirrel.  You may want to read this recent article about squirrel proofing,  “Keeping the Critters Out of Your Bird Feeders” posted last Tuesday.

Once you’ve answered all your questions, then either choose a set of the appropriate bird feeder plans and get started, or stop by your nearest garden shop, or shop right here online.  The sooner you do, the quicker you’ll have

Squirrel trying his best to get past a protective squirrel proof large hopper feeder.

Dang, If I Could Just Reach a Little Bit Further!

new friends in your backyard.

Should you decide to build your own special bird feeder from quality bird feeder plans, there are only two places we know of where you can get almost 100 different sets of bird feeder plans as well as thousands of other household woodworking projects that you are sure to enjoy.  Take a minute and click on either or both of the links above and learn more.

The Mini Bible on Protecting Your Bird Feeders From Squirrels and Other Pests

It is a warm spring day and you’ve cleaned and filled all of the various bird feeders you’ve accumulated over recent years with the appropriate food.

Squirrel goes flying off the squirrel proof tube bird feeder by Droll Yankee

Away We Go!

You’ve got suet in your suet feeder, thistle or Nyjer seed in the tube feeder for the finches, birdseed is in the hopper feeders so all you need now are the birds.  Where in the world are they this year??

You know how important your bird feeders may be to certain species and you spend your hard earned money trying to do your part for them.  In return, you are just thankful for the pleasure they give you while you sit on your porch enjoying their company.

This year however, you have company you didn’t count on.  Squirrels have taken hold in your backyard trees and its possible other pests come through too.  Animals such as field mice (voles), possums, raccoons and foxes are common to the outdoors and can find your birds’ food too.

The same suet (beef fat), seeds, jellies, fruit, and bread crumbs that your birds like are also eaten by the aforementioned hungry pests.  Not only do these pests eat you and your birds’ feeders out of house and home, they actually scare off your birds.  The birds you are so fond of seeing each year like the bluebirds, wrens, finches, blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals and orioles will simply move on before putting up with squirrels and other larger animals.

Unfortunately, some of these pests will raid the bird nests too which make them most unwanted, at least where your birds are.  That will pretty much end your bird watching, and when some of these pest are through with the bird food, they will attack your flowers and your food garden plants as well.

Thank goodness, there are several remedies to prevent these pest from taking over your back yard.  To begin, make sure all your various feeders are squirrel proof and that will likely stem  much of the problem.  However some of the larger predators could cause problems for your house pets if they aren’t completely run off from a food supply.

As you know when you have bird feeders there is always a mess under the feeders of missed or dropped food.  Without somehow making these left-overs unattractive to unwanted pests, you will still have food that could attract nuisance animals.  The remedy for this problem is buy some of the new “hot” bird seed and suet.  The birds seem to like it very much, but the hot pepper oil is totally unacceptable to the mammal intruders and should deter even the hungriest amongst them.


Squirrels Go Flying Off the Droll Yankees Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder