There’s a few easy ways to deter unwanted guests and get back to the most enjoyable hobby of feeding the birds!
Use Seed Trays: Adjustable bird seed trays aren’t just for hanging bird feeders, you can use them right on garden poles too. Depending on your set-up, there’s a seed tray that will work. Recycled plastic and wooden birdseed trays (or seed catchers) feature tough metal screens that are easy to clean. These are perfect for 4×4 wood posts where the bird feeder is mounted on- or hanging from the top of post. The large platform areas also create additional feeding space for other birds who may not use the feeder itself, so it’s like getting an extra feeder for free.
Feed Clean: Because birds are like little kids, they tend to go for the good stuff- or rather the premium bits found in some seed mixes. Less expensive birdseed is really no bargain at all… when the seed is discarded and kicked out onto the ground, it becomes an open invite for pests!
Start with quality seed so there’s no waste left behind in the first place. No-Mess or No-Waste seed mixes may cost a little more but they do what their name implies. Sunflower hearts are also a great option for no-mess feeding because lots of different birds will partake. When high quality mixes are purchased in larger size bags, the cost is basically offset as to buying cheaper seed in small quantities. And everything is consumed by birds – not left on the ground for pests!
Use baffles: Keep pests (and squirrels) from climbing up to bird feeders. Some folks insist baffles don’t work- but they need to be installed correctly! You must be sure critters can’t jump sideways from something that allows them access to the feeder via super vault… a skill at which they’re quite capable!
Offer water: By far, the easiest and most effective way to attract birds! Fresh water is visited by birds who may not even use feeders, and especially during frigid weather- when natural water sources tend to freeze, it can be a life-saving element for your resident friendly fliers braving the elements.
Try one or a few of these options if you’ve given up on feeding feathered friends… you may be pleasantly surprised as the results should prove successful!
Because ground waste can easily spoil and become moldy, it poses the threat of illness to birds. It may attract less desirable critters as well, causing many to give up on feeding the birds 🙁 But larger bird seed trays like these do so much more than just catch fallen seed!
Not only for hanging feeders, but the big diameter style may be used with a pole mounted feeder as well, imagine that! It offers an extra feeding area for birds who may not even perch at the feeder itself. Simply by cutting a slit in the center of the durable mesh netting, it slides on and off the pole for easy cleaning.
In a pinch, or as an extra option, a small dish may be placed on the platform to offer some variety for birds. We use a small clay saucer to hold mealworms for our bluebirds, phoebes and warblers. Luckily, goldfinches don’t care for worms… or they’d be gone in a flash!
Setting up a small dish-like feeder with worms is most helpful when mom and dad bluebird are teaching their fledglings how to access the goods!
These affordable and innovative seed catchers are a delight to birds and hosts alike! Anything that keeps ground mess to a minimum, offers additional feeding space to see more birds, and even lets you create a new feeder on the platform will absolutely enhance the backyard birding experience. We use them at home too- so validated as pretty cool by our standards!
Whether hanging or pole-mounted, there’s a solution with bird seed trays. This one is adjustable and accommodates almost any style feeder out there! Although the Seed Hoops hang, they’ll slide nicely right over a pole as well. It’s as simple as cutting a small slit in the center of the tray.
A few other measures to avoid ground mess or at least reduce its presence, is using a no-waste seed. Because there are no fillers, birds are less likely to sort through and pick out the good stuff! Fillers are what ends up on the ground anyway, millet, milo and corn being most common. Sunflower hearts are always a great choice, and you can bet anything that does land on the ground gets scarfed up quickly.
Suet is another alternative for clean feeding. Many birds will partake and there’s no waste. Thistle’s also a good choice as these seeds will not germinate. You won’t see as many species with thistle alone (mostly finches), but when offered along with suet, there should be a good variety. Chickadees, nuthatches, warblers, woodpeckers, and even bluebirds in winter will go for suet.
So if the feeding mess has you down, don’t give up the ship yet… try using a bird seed tray and offering cleaner seed. The birds are worth it 🙂
Add them to a post, add them to a bird feeder pole, or hang them… seed trays greatly reduce ground mess and waste. Spilled seed can lead to other problems, like mold which is unhealthy for ground feeding birds, and may attract some unwanted visitors too. Over the years we’ve heard from many folks (especially in the city) who stop feeding birds altogether due to rats… yuck!
Clean feeding is easy with bird seed trays or seed catchers. Using a no-waste seed mix or sunflower hearts also helps alleviate ground mess. They’re pure with no filers – which is what ends up on the ground anyway. Milo, red millet, cracked corn and oats don’t really serve birds well at all, they’ll toss it right out of the feeder on purpose!
Newer designs in recycled plastic make it possible to add the generous-size trays to a 4×4 post or standard garden pole. The large area is inviting to some birds who may never have visited the feeder before. Adjustable Seed Hoops fit almost any type feeder out there, and come in 16-and 30-inch diameter. The smaller size is ideal for tube styles, while the large tray is best for hopper bird feeders.
Should you happen to be one of the “I don’t feed birds in summer” folks – just know that backyard feeders are hopping with activity now as most birds have nestlings to feed. The show of migratory birds passing through is colorful and quite dazzling to catch… so don’t give up the ship due to ground mess!
*Use seed trays to minimize waste
*Switch to cleaner seed mixes with no fillers
*Try No-Melt Suet Doughs for warm weather feeding
*Offer fruit & jelly for migratory birds- it leaves no waste
*Feed dried mealworms (boil and steep to soften) for a real treat!
They’ve come a long way since the standard, puny metal or plastic tray. New designs like this Seed Hoop offer much more than a waste-free feeding area. For starters, they’re adjustable and attach to almost any feeder, regardless of its size. Combined with a huge 30-inch diameter, these bird seed trays catch any and all fallen seed, and so versatile, they can even be pole mounted below a feeder. Sturdy mesh makes them a snap to clean with the hose, light-weight, easy to handle, and no tools required.
Also available in a smaller 16-inch diameter, they create a generous platform area that’s like having a second bird feeder. New visitors who’ve never used the feeder, especially during spring migrations, are likely to stop by and grace your yard! In the last few days we’ve been watching a stunning pair of red breasted grosbeaks chowing down on sunflower mix. They eat fallen seed on the tray, as well as from the feeder itself.