Jan 30, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, February 2018

Ask Birdsquatch: Winter Feeder Cleaning?

A chickadee visits a backyard peanut feeder during winter. Photo by J. Hurst.
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Dear Birdsquatch:

Is it really necessary to clean my feeders during winter? Doesn't Minnesota cold weather kill off microbes or bacteria that might cause a problem?

—Lucy H., Elbow Lake, Minnesota

Dear Lucy:

Yes, it's necessary. Those of us who feed birds have a responsibility to do so in a way that does not compromise the birds' health. Not cleaning your feeders because it's a hassle or because you don't have the time isn't good for the birds. It would be better to stop feeding birds than to leave your feeders up for months without cleaning them at least once or twice. Also consider where birds poop while visiting feeders. So please clean your feeders or take them down. Perhaps you can harvest some elbow grease from Elbow Lake to make your work a little easier.



About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020
  • I found where he lives, then I keep him up all day by singing at full volume! Hah, that'll show the little sucker!
    by Pike Juan, Tue, 11 Aug 2020
  • I never knew feeding birds could be so confusing. I love watching the birds in my backyard even though I don't get a very big variety.
    by JustMyOpinion, Sun, 26 Jul 2020