Mar 14, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2017

Dear Birdsquatch: Spring Cleaning Below the Bird Feeder

Birds visit a reader's backyard feeder and feast upon the offerings. Photo by Doug Butler.
Share:

Dear Birdsquatch:

The snow just melted in my backyard and there's a super nasty pile of seed hulls and bird poop below my feeders. Any idea how I can clean this up? Would you be willing to come and take care of it if I baked you a pie?

—Amy S., Oak Grove, Ohio

Dear Amy,

Have you ever heard the song by Pure Prarie League that is your namesake? "Aaaaameee, what you want to do? I think I could stay with you..." I'll bet I just put an earworm in the heads of many Watching Backyard Birds readers! Love that song!

That pile of joy you've found under your feeders does need to be removed or at least dispersed for a couple of reasons. It can be a disease vector as the weather warms up. If a sick bird pooped while visiting your feeder, that sickness could be transferred to a healthy bird that's pecking for seed bits on the ground below your feeder. The other reason (other than that it's gross and possibly smelly—but so am I) is that you might have a bald patch in your lawn when the grass elsewhere starts growing. The seed hulls, if in significant volume, can smother grass that might otherwise grow there.

You can rake up the hulls using a normal leaf rake, then shovel them up and throw them away. I've also seen people use a ShopVac, but such gadgets scare me. If the ground is still wet and you use a ShopVac, be sure to plug it into a ground-fault circuit breaker outlet to prevent an unpleasant encounter with electricity.

For next year, consider moving your feeders on a regular basis so that the hulls don't accumulate in such volume in one concentrated location.

As for your barter proposal, I'd consider accepting it, but only if your blueberry pie is really good.



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.

What do you think? Tell us!

comments powered by Disqus

New On This Site

The Latest Comments

  • 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