How Do I Protect My Bird Feeders From The Rain?
Bird feeders are a great addition to your yard, attracting lovely birds and adding to your landscape’s beauty. However, when the seed inside your feeder gets moldy from rain, it’s anything but pretty. Not to mention, it’s toxic to your birds as well as any other animals that are eating the birdseed. So, how exactly do you prevent rain from getting in there in the first place?
Install a rain guard for your bird feeder to protect it from rain and water damage. Rain guards cost $20-$40 and you simply hang them above the bird feeder. Add drainage holes to the bottom of the bird feeder so that it drains well in the rain.
If your bird feeder is exposed to rain, it can lead to a lot of problems for you and the animals that use it. It’s definitely an issue you need to address sooner rather than later for the birds’ safety. We will tell you why wet birdseed is dangerous, as well as provide some solutions to help keep water from entering the inside of your bird feeder.
What Happens When My Bird Feeder Stays In The Rain?
You might think it’s no big deal to leave a bird feeder in the rain, after all, they’re typically designed to be outside. However, it’s not the actual bird feeder you need to worry about; it’s the bird seed inside it.
When birdseed gets wet, it develops mold. Plus, if your feeder gets wet repeatedly, fungus can grow inside the feeder. This accumulation of fungus and mold leads to poor conditions for birds and other animals.
What Problems Does Wet Bird Seed Cause?
Besides being a mess, wet bird seed causes several issues. Not only is it extremely unhealthy for the wildlife that frequents your birdfeeder, but it also causes problems in your yard and it wastes our hard earned money.
Poor Health For Birds And Animals
Mold can grow on dry bird seed, but wet seed allows mold to grow more quickly. This mold can be toxic for birds and other animals that eat the grain, and in some cases, it’s even fatal. Moreover, if you happen to attract some endangered species, and your bird food is killing them, you may be held accountable!
Depending on how many animals feed at your birdfeeders, the amount of sickness and deaths you cause from moldy bird seed may even affect our local ecosystem, which will eventually result in overpopulation of pests.
Unpleasant Aesthetics And Yard Problems
Wet bird seed can also form oily looking stains on your feeder, making it less-than-appealing to view. Plus, the damp seed can sprout. If these sprouted seeds fall onto your lawn, you could have a bit of a mess on your hands. After all, you probably installed a birdfeeder to add some extra character to your yard. If the birdfeeder isn’t pleasant to look at, you’re completely defeating the purpose for which you installed it.
Waste Of Money
When bird seed gets wet, it becomes useless, which means you need to throw it away. This waste can get pretty costly, considering high-quality bird seed can run $1 or more a pound. Over time, this will add up so it’s important that you take the steps necessary now to remove your birdhouse from the rain, and prevent the food from molding.
Protecting Your Bird Feeder From The Rain
Of course, the easiest way to keep your bird feeder dry is to move it before it rains. However, this isn’t the most practical solution; it can rain unexpectedly, or you may be away from home.
Therefore, it’s best to develop some more permanent solutions to protect your bird feeder from the rain. You can relocate your feeder to a drier location or use several different components to keep your feeder dry.
Reposition Your Feeder
Relocating your feeder can be an excellent way to reduce the amount of water that gathers inside it. You can hang it under a covering like a patio or an awning to help keep it dry. However, make sure it is in an area where you don’t mind attracting a lot of birds.
Remember, with birds, you get bird poop. So if you decide to hang a feeder on your patio, you might be in for a lot of unwanted cleaning. Also, some birds might have trouble finding your feeder if it is under shelter.
Add A Rain Guard
You can purchase a rain guard at a home improvement store or animal-supply store for roughly $20 to $40. Make sure you get a size that is large enough to accommodate your feeder.
A rain guard is usually a plastic, clear dome that acts as an umbrella for your birds and bird feeder. Simply hang it above your feeder, and your birds will stay dry while they enjoy their meal.
Add Or Increase Drainage
Most feeders already come with small holes in the base to help drain rainwater. However, these holes can often be too small for adequate drainage. If this is the case with your bird feeder, you can adapt it to drain more water.
Use a drill to enlarge the holes so that more water can drain from the base. In addition to making the holes more prominent, you can create additional holes. You can also place a layer of mesh or gravel in the bottom of the feeder to elevate the seeds.
Use A Baffle
Can’t find a rain guard? You can use a baffle, or squirrel guard, in a pinch. Baffles are actually used to keep hungry squirrels from snapping up your bird seed.
You usually install a baffle beneath your feeder to keep squirrels from climbing up to it. You can also install a baffle high above your feeder to prevent access from squirrels coming down from treetops.
However, some baffles can double as a rain guard easily. You just install it above your feeder, slightly lower than you typically would place it for squirrel prevention. You can purchase a baffle from a home improvement or pet shop for about $20 to $30.
When Is It Time To Replace Your Bird Feeder?
No matter how much you attempt to keep your bird feeder dry, it might be a lost cause if you’ve had it several years. It can be worn down in certain areas and allow in more moisture, even if under protection.
A regular bird feeder usually lasts for a few years, but an all-weather feeder can last even longer. All-weather feeders are made to withstand extreme temperatures and fluctuating weather conditions. However, it is still important to add extra precautions to these bird feeders to protect them from rain.
How do you tell if bird seed has molded?
Moldy bird seed can give off a musty smell and also appear discolored. The seed might also feel softer to the touch than it should or have a slimy texture, indicating mold spores.
Should you clean your bird feeder regularly?
When it comes to bird feeders, you definitely don’t want to set it and forget it. It is crucial to maintain your feeder correctly, which means regular cleaning. You can clean your feeder with hot soapy water as you notice it getting a little worse for wear. In addition to cleaning your bird feeder, it’s also vital that you check your bird seed often. If you notice dry seed still in the feeder after about five days, it’s best to replace it with some fresh seed. If the seed is wet, dump it, clean your feeder and fill with fresh, dry bird seed.
What is the best way to store bird seed?
It does not do you much good to keep your bird feeder out of the rain if you do not do the same with your bird seed. Bird seed can last for about a year if it is stored properly. It is best to remove the seed from the original bag and store it in an airtight container. Keep the container in a dry, cool location. Rain can ruin bird seed, but so can extreme heat and humidity.
Using a bird feeder to attract colorful and beautiful birds to your yard creates a lovely environment for you to relax and enjoy. However, when your bird feeder gets wet, it can harm the same birds you’re trying to admire.
Wet bird seed develops unhealthy mold and fungus that can be fatal to birds and other animals. Keep your feeder dry by moving it before it rains or relocating it to a drier area.
You can install useful tools like a rain guard or baffle, or add drainage to keep rain from collecting inside of your bird feeder. Whatever method you choose to use, protecting your bird feeder and bird seed from rain is an important responsibility.
When you take the time to care for your bird feeder, you’ll enjoy your backyard visitors come rain or shine. And your birds will be happy to sing for their supper!
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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