Now that warmer weather is finally here, I would like to offer some tips on making your yard an inviting haven for our songbirds. The most important things to start with are clean feeders and bird baths. Bird feeders and baths can be cleaned with one part bleach or vinegar to 9 parts hot water. Make sure that all old seeds are brushed out of the feeders before beginning. After washing, rinse both the bath and feeders thoroughly with hot water and air dry the feeders before refilling. Feeders that are visited on a regular basis should be cleaned every two weeks, especially hopper and tray feeders. Hummingbird and Oriole feeders should be cleaned every time the food (grape jelly/fruit) or nectar is refreshed. By keeping feeders and bird baths clean we are doing our part to ensure the health and safety of our feathered friends.
Seed storage is another important thing to consider in the summer. Heat and humidity can cause seeds to go mouldy, so it is important to store your seed in a dry, cool place. Garage storage is not recommended. If storage space is a problem, consider purchasing seeds in smaller quantities. Seed will also stay fresh if stored in a freezer. If you notice any mould or unpleasant odours in your birdseed, discard it immediately. Rake up any fallen seeds under feeders on a weekly basis as they can become contaminated from bird droppings, rain, heat and humidity.
You may choose to use smaller feeders in the spring and summer months to ensure the seeds stay fresh. If your feeder has a large seed capacity, I would recommend only filling it half way.
Bird baths also require our attention and should be refilled daily when the weather is hot. When watering your flowers, you can hose down the bird bath and refill with fresh water. A bird bath brush comes in very handy for this to remove any seeds or bird droppings in the bath. When the weather turns very warm you can refresh the water in the late afternoon as well. The birds will appreciate this!
If you decide to offer more than one bird bath, have a look at our garden varieties which have shorter pedestals. Birds naturally search for water close to the ground, so you might be surprised how many will choose to drink and bathe from baths situated in this way.
The depth of a bird bath is also something to take into account. If your bird bath is deeper than two inches, you will want to place stones in the bottom to help small birds to feel comfortable and safe. Another consideration would be the addition of a solar powered bird bath bubbler or fountain. The sound of water is a great way to attract birds who aren’t regulars to our feeders… a little trick to attract more species to our yards and gardens.
I hope these tips will help you attract a variety of the lovely species of birds visiting our locales over the spring and summer months as well as the ones we enjoy year round.