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.
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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.

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