In our previous post "A little bit of foresight can save lives" Colleen talked about some of the diseases that can be spread at the backyard birdfeeder when things aren't kept clean. She outlined a series of 8 steps to take that will assure that your feeders are clean and your wild birds are healthy.
Today, I'm going to stress the importance of step #5, Sweep up old seeds from underneath the feeder and wash the area.
I live near some of the great paved walking/biking trails that wind through Morgan Hill and I try to take advantage of them often. On my recent walks I started to notice an area along the fence, near some bushes, where some good samaritans have been scattering seed to feed the birds. The nearby bushes were teeming with White-Crowned Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Towhees, and I even spotted a Gold-Crowned Sparrow. All of them happily pecking away at the seed on the ground. As I watched them, I realized there was quite a lot of seed built up there. Quite. A. Lot.
So, I enlisted the help of Colleen (thanks again, Colleen!!) to help me clean up the seed waste. I thought it would be a quick task, maybe take a couple of trash bags to fill up, a rake, a shovel, gloves, etc. to make sure the area was clean and safe afterwards.
We took advantage of a dry, sunny Wednesday this past week to work on: Operation Cleanup
The importance of step #5, sweep up old seeds from underneath the feeder and wash the area, can easily be overlooked. Why wouldn't it be fine to just leave it there for the birds to continue eating? When that seed builds up, it not only attracts rodents, and the diseases they carry, but it also can become a breeding ground for an array of avian diseases that include Salmonellosis, Aspergillosis, Avian Pox, Trichomonias and Mycopalmosis. These diseases can lead to illness and death in birds. In northern California, it is exactly these diseases that cause seasonal bird die offs that often make the news. These diseases can spread rapidly among flocks and wipe out hundreds, even thousands of birds in a very short time.
In our area, we're currently host to many birds who are spending the winter in our warmer temperatures. Soon they will be returning to their spring and summer breeding grounds. Let's all do our best to make sure that they are not taking along any unwelcome illnesses along with them on their return trip.
For all of the tips to help keep your backyard birds healthy, scroll down to the post below. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email us, we're just a click away!