New Zealanders have reconnected with their local birdlife in recent years. We’re taking greater notice of nature, and feeding the birds is a popular way of nurturing it. While it brings great delight, it’s our responsibility to keep everything safe and sanitary. Our friends at Topflite give us the inside info on how to feed your feathered friends safely.
Bird Feeder Care
Have a dedicated brush that’s just for cleaning the feeder. An old toothbrush is handy, as is a bottle brush for a nectar feeder. Always wear rubber gloves when handling a dirty feeder, as birdy bacteria is not great for humans either.
Empty the dregs
Leftover seed or fruit may be contaminated, so bury it in the compost pile or somewhere away from the bird feeding station.
Take it apart
Some bird feeders are made from multiple parts, while others may be difficult to disassemble. If it’s easy to separate, it’s easier to clean.
Soak, scrub & dry
Soak well in warm water. This removes any hardened debris. Scrub thoroughly with a gentle dishwashing liquid and ensure all old food and crusted dirt are dislodged. Rinse well. Refill it with your local birds’ favourite NZ-made bird feed when completely dry.
It also pays to remember
- Use a feeder designed for safety and hygiene. A wide base or numerous perching points on a feeder allow birds to spread out as they feed.
- Offer nutritious bird feed. Bread is a no-no! For introduced species like the yellowhammer or finch, feed Topflite Wild Bird Seed. It’s grown in mineral-rich New Zealand soil and carefully balanced for optimal nutrients. For nectar-feeding birds, consider Topflite Nectar which includes a blend of vitamins and minerals.
- Feed birds in a seasonally appropriate manner. Autumn and winter are when a little extra feed goes a long way. Put out energy food, nectar, and fruit to help native birds enter the spring breeding season in form and seed to nourish the introduced species.
- Nectar feeders need thorough and regular cleaning. Sugar water or nectar sitting around for a few days can ferment, causing dangerous bacteria to form.