Backyard Chirper

PREPARE FOR SPRING SALE ends 2/29/24! $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more. Code: PREPSPRING10

The Importance of Cleaning Bird Feeders

With springtime in full swing, birds are flocking to backyard feeders for food and shelter.

This is a prime time for backyard birders to not only observe bird behaviors, but also make sure the birds remain healthy and free from disease.

An article published Tuesday in the Village Soup underlined the importance of keeping your bird feeder and the surrounding area clean:

Bacteria such as salmonella are normally present in very small amounts in wild birds. Once they congregate — and especially if the feeder allows droppings to fall into the food source — it’s easy for bacteria to start spreading and making birds sick. Even last year, some wild bird deaths in Maine were documented to be caused by salmonella infection. “It’s more important than ever for the backyard birders to help avoid the spread of this disease,” said Lichtenwalner.

Anne Lichtenwalner, a veterinarian at the University of Maine, laid out a couple cleaning techniques for the article.

It’s very important for everyone to clean their backyard feeders because even if you live in places that don’t get a lot of birds, migratory birds might stop by and carry diseases on route to their final destination, which could decimate populations.

First and foremost, it’s good to clean regularly, so the feeder doesn’t get too out of hand. Simply picking up old seed from the ground and replacing fresh seed in the feeder will decrease the spread of bacteria. However, you should also frequently soak the feeder in cleaning fluid.

After you clean the feeder, you should always remember to let it dry properly because moisture leads to mold and mildew, which is very unhealthy for birds.

Doing these simple things and reporting any suspicious bird deaths to health authorities will significantly decrease the possibility of disease spreading among birds.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. […] I’ve discussed at length, it’s very important to clean your bird feeders. Sometimes bacteria like salmonella (which is always present in small amounts around wild birds) […]

  2. […] absolutely essential for you to clean your feeders with consistency. The importance of cleaning bird feeders has been well-documented on this blog because they can spread harmful bacteria among birds and […]

Comments are closed.