Feeding Birds In The Rain

Living in the UK we are used to a fair bit of rain (especially those who live in Manchester!) but it does make feeding our feathered friends a bit tricky at times. It seems like in 2018 we are going to have to get used to the rain so what are the best practices to avoid feeding soggy seed?

 

Things You Can Do To Keep Your Seed Nice and Dry

  • Dry your feeders before refilling. This is an important one! If your feeders need filling make sure to give them a quick wipe down to keep moisture to a minimum inside your feeders.
  • Feeding less at a time. Especially those of us who are used to getting lots of visitors to our feeders will commonly fill our feeders up to the top without thinking about it. Check the weather and if its forecasted to rain only put a bit out at a time. This will give the birds more time to finish what’s there and should keep away excessive dampness.
  • Move the position of your bird feeders. If you are feeding from the ground, moving your tray or table under a thick tree or hedgerow might be the way to go. Similarly for hanging feeders, they need shelter. If you can position them a few inches below a roof or canopy that will keep out the majority of moisture.
  • Use a baffle. Not only are baffles great for keeping out squirrels but they can also keep the rain out. It can be hung from a branch or a feeding station and can hold a feeder on the hook inside.
  • Try some feeding alternatives. Feeds such as nuts, fruits & mealworms and less likely to soak up the water and therefore as a result stay naturally fresh for longer.

Different Types Of Feeders That Will Take The Rain Head On

 

  • Mesh Feeders. We stock a wide range of feeders that are mesh. From our ground bird feeding tray to our two tier seed feeder. Mesh feeders circulate the air around the seed which means that the dampness evaporates more quickly than in conventional feeders. The water can also drain off, acting a bit like a sieve! Equally good quality trays should have drainage holes.
  • Using feeders with fewer ports. Although most feeders will have a little cover on them, some have more than others! Seed feeders with multiple ports have more vulnerable points to water, so consider using a two port if you are on four or more.
  • Feeders with roofs. Similar to the baffle some feeders have a covering canopy included such as this dome feeder or the window observer feeder which will stop the rain in its tracks!

 

Why is it Important To Keep The Rain Out?

Although your birds may eat the wet seed it’s important to remember why its crucial to keep your seed fresh and dry.

  • To avoid the development of mould. When seed gets wet there is a chance after a while, especially if it is warm, that bacteria will grow and turn into mould. Although most birds will find another food source if this occurs if they are particularly hungry they might go for it, which can make them ill. This is why on the farm when feeding we always use feeder fresh, which absorbs water keeping the seed fresh.
  • To avoid the seed clumping. This is a particular nuisance about bird feeding when it rains. When seed gets damp it can stick to the sides of the feeder and won’t drop down to the ports where the birds are eagerly waiting for the seed to come!

To sum up feeding in the rain isn’t ideal but there are steps we can take to avoid making it an issue!

 

 This article was written by Hilary Wiles.  If you have any questions or queries about the article we would love to hear from you! You can email contact Hilary by email on info@brinvale.com