With winter quickly approaching, expect things to get a little wet out there. For some parts of the country, like the West, rain provides a much needed reprieve from the arid conditions, but there are also a lot of downsides to rain: mudslides, car accidents, flooding, etc.
Like us, birds face their own challenges during the wet weather. It becomes more difficult to fly in the rain and hummingbirds face even bigger obstacles when drops fall from the sky. While birds often seek shelter when rain’s falling, that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little help with the bird feeders.
When it’s raining or there’s a lot of moisture in the area, the birdseed in your feeders becomes susceptible to bacteria and sprouting. As we all know, the most important thing we can do is offer birds food that’s healthy and safe. When birdseed gets soaked, it quickly becomes unsuitable for birds to eat.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to keep bird feeders dry when it’s raining.
Move the feeders underneath a patio
The first option is very simple and doesn’t require much work: move it! If you have a bird feeder pole out in the middle of your yard without any shelter, relocate the feeder underneath an awning or patio. Make sure not to put it all the way under a patio or birds won’t find it. As long as it’s not getting wet, the feeder should be placed as far out in the open as possible.
Add a rain guard
If you live in a rainy locale like Seattle, it’s a good investment to buy a rain guard to put above the feeder. This is essentially a clear dome you place over the feeder that acts as an umbrella. Droll Yankees makes a fantastic rain guard that protects the birds and seed from rain.
Or add a baffle
Building on the last recommendation, you could also buy a baffle for your feeder. These are typically designed to keep squirrels away, but if they’re placed just low enough, they also act as rain guards. Here’s a great Woodlink baffle that is intended for squirrels but can also be used for the weather.
Bring in feeders that don’t have drainage
Not all bird feeders are maximized for rainy weather. Some feeders have no proper drainage system to remove water from inside the feeder. If water continually collects inside the feeder when it’s raining, it’s better to take down the feeder than let the seed fester in the water and allow birds to eat seed potentially plagued by bacteria and mold.
You can also modify your existing feeders if there’s poor drainage. Patty from over at Birds and Blooms modified one of her feeders so that the seed did not rest at the bottom of the feeder since it drained very slowly.
Buy an all-weather feeder
If you’re in the market for a new feeder, then you might as well get an all-weather feeder that stands up to the elements of nature. The All-Weather Feeder from Songbirds Essentials is storm-proof with a cover the prevents a buildup of snow and rain.