Much Ado About Poo

Bird Feeder Cleanliness

The dirt, or rather the “poo” that comes with bird feeding.

I have to bring it up.

NObody wants to talk about it, but we have to face it: when it comes to bathroom habits, birds do NOT follow the same hygiene protocol as people.

In fact, I think we can all agree that when it comes to personal and communal sanitation, wildlife conduct, in general, is abysmal. But in this blog we’re only talking about Birds and specifically about their indiscriminate depositing of their poo.

I apologize for using the word “poo”. It seems there is no universally acceptable term for this particular natural function and it’s almost guaranteed that any term I use will offend someone. After a lot of consideration and consultation, ‘Poo’ seems like the least intolerable of the choices (even though it sounds idiotic).

Back to the topic.

Believe it or not, there are people who study bird feeder hygiene. For real. I met one.

And it turns out there’s a really good reason for that kind of study: unhygienic feeding conditions adversely affect bird health. To be more direct, dirty feeders become a Petri dish for disease that can infect the entire population of the feeding area. Just as with humans, good hygiene and good health go hand-in-hand for birds, but unfortunately their tiny bird brains don’t seem able to connect those dots. That’s why humans have to step in and offer some sanitation expertise, or in other words, we have to clean our bird feeders.

If you’re thinking “I didn’t know that,” you wouldn’t be the only one. According to their study, the Hygiene Experts found that 20% of people who describe themselves as “avid” birders don’t even clean their feeders; no wonder the rest of us don’t know.

But as Oprah says, “when you know better, you DO better.” And since now we do know better, we should all take steps to keep feeding areas safe for the birds who, despite their poor understanding of civilized sanitation, bring a lot of good into our lives.

There are many websites that will offer step-by-step instructions for cleaning bird feeders and most of them are pretty similar. However, every so often you’ll run across one that tells you to just put your feeders in the dishwasher. My personal response to that suggestion is…EEEUWW!  WHOever thought that cleaning poo in the same machine we clean our dishes seemed like a good idea?!

Okay, admittedly, I’m a mere layperson in this field. But the Hygiene Experts ALSO agree. They say bird feeders should NEVER be put in home dishwashers because residential machines are not designed to sanitize that sort of ‘debris,’ aka, poo.

Thorough cleaning is important, though, and it involves some time and a few specific steps. You can follow these easy instructions in the video demonstration below that would require 20-30 minutes of your time every couple of weeks.

Or, you could use a Bird & Breakfast feeder which utilizes a TV dinner-style feeding system that offers fresh seed and a clean feeding surface with every refill, which means NO cleaning necessary.

Either option is a win for the birds at your feeder; however, one option is a win for you, too. If you’re still not convinced, visit Mr. Canary’s website to see how it makes bird feeding easy for everybody.

Author: Jan Long

Published: May 21, 2019

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