Though many in the North are still struggling with winter’s lingering effects, some of us are starting to see the slow transformation of the winter landscape. Yes, little by little, spring is edging closer and closer. For people who love their bird feeders, it’s a good time to prepare for the birds migrating into our backyards. That can mean new arrivals and the departure of our winter residents as they move farther north to their breeding grounds.
This transition is the perfect time to perform bird feeder maintenance and prep your yards to make it even attractive to our visiting birds.
1. Sweep Up Hulls
If you’ve been feeding birds all winter, then you will want to clean up any mess that’s been left under the feeders. You’re likely to find a thick carpet of shelled seeds mixed in with some seeds that are still intact. Get a rake and shovel, scoop all this material up and dispose of it. This material can get moldy and get your birds sick if they consume it. Further, the uneaten seed may start sprouting or attract some unwanted pests.
2. Bring Out Waterers
Early on in the spring, bring out any bird waterers you may have. Migrant birds will definitely appreciate a source of fresh, clean water. Birds that stay in your area will soon come to rely on your waterers, so make sure they stay full and clean.
3. Clean Old Feeders
As more natural food becomes abundant, you have a great opportunity to remove and thoroughly clean your seed feeders. Soak your feeders in water. Rinse and allow to drip-dry before refilling with seed.
4. Bring Out Seasonal Feeders
The spring is a key time for birds that use specialty feeders — namely hummingbirds and orioles. Try having these feeders up before these birds arrive in your area. Doing so will increase the chances they’ll stay in the area rather than move on to other feeding grounds. You probably cleaned these feeders in the fall when you put them away, but it can’t hurt to clean them again.
5. Try Out New Feeders
The spring is also a great time to test a new feeder on the birds in your area. Perky-Pet’s Upside Down Goldfinch Feeder is a great way to bring goldfinches to your yard. Our line of K-Feeders includes this four-compartment feeder that delivers multiple seed types. Hummingbird lovers will enjoy the elegant looks of our copper and glass hummingbird feeder.
Leave old nests intact so they can be used by another generation of birds.
6. Leave Nests As You Found Them
With your trees still bare, you probably see a few nests in the crooks of limbs on your property. Unless the nests are in a bad location for you — that is the birds last year created a huge mess underneath — then leave the nest right where it is. It survived your winter, so it’s well built and could be used again this year.
7. Provide More Perches
If you live in a newer house, it may also mean that your property has very few opportunities for birds. Your feathered friends need perches to rest on, watch for predators and even spend the night. Try adding a few trees or low-leaf density shrubs to help your seed-loving visitors. Not ready to plant? Try setting up some hanging perches or other poles where birds can rest and take in the view. You can also leave downed limbs or ailing bushes in place since many birds prefer these sorts of cover.
8. Set Up New Nest Boxes
Whether you buy or build your own nest boxes, adding them to your property can be a huge help to birds that breed in your area. Just remember that many birds can be very picky about where they nest and setting up a new nest box isn’t as simple as nailing it to a fence post. Get some ideas on nest box requirements before you add any to your property.
9. Protect Your Property
As your new visitors arrive, they may also start looking for new places to nest — places where you don’t want them to nest! Take a look around your sheds, porches, patios, and decks. Are there any new items that might attract a nesting bird? High sitting platforms and newly opened crevasses could entice some birds to set up shop! Seal up any holes and block those platforms to make them useless to a bird.
These simple tasks can really pay off by keeping your bird population healthier and happier! Is your yard bustling this spring? Visit us on Facebook to share your pictures and stories with the Perky-Pet® Community. Also, be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to receive exclusive updates on your favorite products as well as great birding articles right in your inbox.