Clean your bird feeder frequently to keep those finches flying

Statewide Iowa — Many Iowans enjoy attracting songbirds to their feeders year-round and to keep those feathered friends healthy, a bird expert urges people to clean their feeders thoroughly at least once a season.

Anna Buckardt Thomas, an avian ecologist at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says as we’ve just transitioned from winter to spring, it’s an ideal time to make sure there’s no moldy seeds in your feeder.

If your feeder isn’t cleaned properly, unsanitary conditions can lead to the spread of several diseases among birds that feed there, some of which can be fatal to the birds.

Thomas suggests cleaning feeders with a 10-percent bleach solution and make sure the feeder is dry before refilling it with seed. Also, she says to wear rubber gloves while cleaning feeders, since humans can contract some diseases from affected feeders or sick birds. It’s also important to routinely clean bird baths and watering stations.

If Iowans find sick birds at their feeders, Thomas suggests taking down the feeders for at least two weeks to help stop the spread of any diseases. There are some 430 species of birds in Iowa.

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