The following guest article was written by Chantelle Voss, owner of YourBirdOasis.com
Bees on hummingbird feeders
Bees and wasps are a common problem for people with hummingbird feeders. First, don’t let them gain access to the hummingbird feeder nectar. The HummZinger is a hummingbird feeder that was built with bee and wasp resistance in mind (http://www.yourbirdoasis.com/aspects143.html). It was made so that the nectar is positioned low in the nectar reservoir so it’s difficult for bees to access. However, hummingbirds have long bills and tongues and can easily access the nectar.
Caking in tube feeders
This is a common problem when you have a lot of moisture in your area. To prevent caking, clean the feeder out every month or so by dumping the seed and replacing it with fresh food. If your feeder is already caked, soak it in warm water for about a day. Then, use a stick or household cleaning brush to eliminate the residual seed. You can also add bleach to disinfect the feeder from most diseases that could be possibly transmitted between individuals. See dirty birdbaths for tips.
Cleaning dirty birdbaths
If you notice that the water in your birdbath is turning red, it is probably red algae. This is a common problem for birdbaths and is not harmful for birds. However, many birds prefer clean water for drinking. Therefore, dump your birdbath every couple weeks and replace with clean water. If you want to disinfect your birdbath, first mix ¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Scrub the bath with the bleach solution and a brush, while wearing gloves. Rinse the container 4-5 times before adding clean water.
Squirrels are extremely difficult to avoid. However, try using the “Squirrel Buster Plus” or the “Squirrel Buster Mini.” These feeders have weighted seed ports. This means that when a bird (light weight) perches on the feeder to eat the seed ports remain open, but when a squirrel (which is much heavier than a bird), tries to feed on the birdseed, the seed ports close. Additionally, place your bird feeder at least eight feet away from any jumping off point. Squirrels can jump up to eight feet horizontally and six feet vertically.
Avoiding invasive species (house sparrows, rock pigeons, European starlings)
Unfortunately, house sparrows eat most anything. I have found that using black oil sunflower seeds has worked the best in the past. But, if this does not work for your area, try using finch feeders with nyjer (thistle). If you are worried about rock pigeons or European starlings, I’d recommend keeping seed off of the ground and looking around your house for nests or roosts. All three species mentioned above will nest on or in your house and the best way to prevent these species at you feeders is to discourage breeding in your area.
About the Author:
Chantelle Voss is the Owner of YourBirdOasis.com and a birding enthusiast. Your Bird Oasis will help you transform your garden into your own bird oasis with a variety of beautiful Bird Baths, Bird Feeders, and Bird Houses to choose from. With exquisite artistic Bird Bath Fountains, Bird Bath Bowls, Decorative Bird Feeders at your convenience, you can add a unique touch to your garden and create a haven for the birds in your area.
* The gorgeous Sconset Cottage pictured at the top of the post is from YourBirdOasis.com (click the image to go directly to its page). This beautiful decorative birdhouse is now officially on my Christmas wish list! Thanks, Chantelle for the great information and ideas in this guest article.