Would You Eat off a Dirty Plate?

by Donna Lewis

Would you like to eat off a dirty plate? Birds probably will, but it is not safe for them.

So, I bet your feeders are not clean. It’s a nasty job we all hate to do.  Let’s face it, it’s work!

Gotta clean out these seeds that are stuck to the feeder after a rain.

But a dirty bird feeder can transmit Salmonella enterica bacteria. Nasty…

Soap and water is not enough to do the job. Ole faithful…BLEACH is what is needed.

Your necessary cleaning supplies.

1. First, clear all the old seeds out of the feeder.  Use a brush or putty remover because it will be like concrete to remove.

2. Wash the feeder with soap and water, scrubbing it good.  Then dunk it in a bleach/water solution.  A nine to one solution is recommended.

3. Next it must be completely dry before you add any seed again.  Don’t get in a hurry.

Having a few extra feeders helps you rotate them.

Dunking in process. Note the rubber gloves!

4.  Next clean under the feeders. Get rid of the old moldy seeds on the ground. Dispose of them so the birds cannot eat them again. They’re birds, they don’t know any different.

It’s a very good idea to wear rubber gloves while doing this. Birds can transmit some diseases

A good photo instructional to watch is www.wikihow.pet/clean-Birdfeeders.

Have fun…

Welcome Home, Boss

by Larry Kocian

Yesterday, many of us mentioned hearing and seeing hummingbirds in the tree tops, gardens, and at some feeders. Today, just after noontime, this hummingbird posed for the camera. Enjoy the short narrative as to what happened.

I looked out the window and saw a hummingbird at the feeder. I grabbed the big camera and went outside, somewhat hidden, and stayed motionless for 15 minutes or so.

Can’t tell who it is from here.

It was still raining off and on, pleasantly mild, thundering, all foliage was wet. The hummingbird sat on a tiny branch on a large Crape Myrtle tree next to the feeder. Did he see me? Most likely! So it was standoff. I stayed motionless and was not going to move, no matter what was itching or biting me. This went on for many minutes; it seemed like forever.

Big raindrops began to fall again. A couple of Carolina Wrens landed in the same tree. The hummingbird was aggravated with them and chased them off. I waited a few more minutes, raindrops more frequent. Then, the hummingbird made his move.

Yummy!

My camera clicked rapidly at the fast-moving target. I wondered, “What type of hummingbird are you, who are you?” I asked repeatedly.

Then, after feeding a couple of times at the left feeder, he came right at me to the camera. I zoomed the lens back, he positioned himself in the upright position, and revealed his identity, proclaiming, “I am back.”

The Big Reveal!

Then he went to the second feeder to feed. Welcome home, Ruby Red-throated Hummer.

Suet Bird Block Recipe

At the March 2019 Chapter Meeting, Cindy Travis shared her recipe for home-made suet blocks for bird feeders. These attract warblers, woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, and more. She’s agreed to share it with readers of our blog!

This red-bellied woodpecker likes the inexpensive feeder from Lowe’s. Photo from Lowe’s

Cindy says you can easily double or triple the recipe, so you’ll have plenty. The blocks freeze well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup raisins, seeds, or crumbled eggshells (optional)
  • (Cindy recommends currants as fruit, because they are small)

Instructions

Dump all ingredients in a pot and heat over medium heat until the lard and peanut butter melt. Stir thoroughly.

Pour into a square pan, bread pan (you can slice the blocks), or into a Ziploc-type plastic storage container the size of your bird feeder.

Cool until solid, then hang in your block feeder.

This flicker likes the feeder with tail rest from Amazon. Photo from Amazon.

PS: You can easily find suet feeders in home improvement stores (Lowe’s Home Depot) or big box stores with garden departments (Target, Wal-Mart, etc.). Specialty wild bird feeding stores will have a larger selection, and of course you can find them online (here is a sampling from Wild Birds Unlimited). You can attach them to trees, hang them on poles, etc.