- Birding Tips

Maintain A Healthy Bird Feed Station

Promote an enjoyable environment for you and your backyard visitors by adding some of these tips to your regular feeding behaviors.

For best results keep feeding stations filled and position them in a safe area preferably with shrubbery or a semi wooded area away from cats and predators. Inviting birds to drink at bird baths near the feeders may also help attract repeat bird visitors. 

  • Valley Farms® wild bird foods optimal storage condition are in a cool, dry place, protected from direct sunlight. Storage in water proof, air tight containers will extend the freshness of this product.
  • Give your seed feeders (especially thistle and tube feeders) a shake before you refill them, to dislodge any compacted seed. Dump out any wet clumps of old seed.
  • Clear away all hulls from platform feeders and out of seed trays regularly.
  • Disinfect feeders by scrubbing with a non toxic solution (soap with warm water or non bleach product) every few weeks, more often in summer or rainy periods. Rinse and allow feeders to dry before refilling.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after filling or cleaning your feeder
  • Don’t allow large amounts of seed to become wet, as on platform feeders. Instead, when it’s wet outside, feed primarily from covered feeders that will keep seed dry or put out only a handful of seed at a time on platforms.
  • Don’t put hulled sunflower hearts (or bits) out where wet weather can cause them to spoil. Offer them in a tube or hopper feeder.
  • Don’t put out any more seed than can be eaten by the birds by nightfall, especially where raccoons, opossums, bears, deer, or rodents are a problem.
  • Report the sick birds to your local wildlife officials, many of whom monitor wildlife health. If you see a dead bird try to determine if cats are nearby. When you suspect disease, you may want to clean the area well and wait a few days before resuming feed dispensing again.
  • If you provide suet, reduce the amount you offer in hot weather. Heat can make suet rancid and unhealthy for birds. Runny suet can also stick to birds’ feathers, making them hard to keep clean and useful. Use rendered suet or heat-resilient suet blocks that are available commercially.
  • Lots of birds fly into windows, harming them or even killing them. Please place feeders a safe distance away from windows. If birds regularly strike a particular window place a screen, crop netting, or a series of branches over or in front of the outside glass panel to break up the reflection. You can also use stickers or try hanging items on suction cups attached to the inside of your window.
  • Though birds may not be entirely dependent on your feeder, it’s best not to leave them totally without food if you plan to be away from home in midwinter. Purchase an oversized feeder with a large seed capacity or ask a willing neighbor to continue feeding your birds.
  • Don’t discontinue feeding as soon as the grass greens and the weather warms in spring. Many birds will continue coming to your feeders all summer long.
  • Don’t use grease, oil, petroleum jelly, or similar substances on your feeder poles or wires to thwart squirrels, ants, or other feeder-raiding creatures. If these substances come into contact with bird feathers they are impossible for the bird to preen or wash out. Gooey feathers can become useless for flight or insulation, thus putting the birds at risk to predators, extreme weather, and disease. For squirrels and other mammals, use a pole-mounted baffle (many are sold commercially). For ants, use an ant guard that prevents ants from reaching the feeder. Both baffles and ant guards are available on the Internet, by mail-order, or in retail stores that sell an extensive array of backyard products.

The Valley Farms Bird Team wishes you and your birds many days of enjoyment.