Summer Birdwatching in Wisconsin

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

A holiday tradition is to talk about birdwatching. Today, Larry Meiller learns what our birds are busy with in summer. We’ll discuss nesting and the raising of young, as well as why some birds sing less at this time of year.

Featured in this Show

  • Naturalist: Keep Bird Feeders Clean To Prevent Spread Of Disease

    Watching birds come to a feeder is a real joy, but having many birds congregate in the same spot could lead to diseases being transmitted between birds.

    Bill Volkert, a naturalist and a retired wildlife educator at Horicon Marsh International Education Center, said that the worst-case scenario is that an infected bird uses a feeder and then, the feeder itself harbors the illness.

    To prevent the spread of infection, Volkert said that sanitation is key to preventing the spread of disease. He recommended for people to bring feeders indoors when they get close to empty for cleaning. Soaking the feeders in a diluted bleach solution will disinfect them. The Audubon Society suggests a 9-to-1 water-bleach solution.

    Volkert said to let the feeders dry completely before refilling them to avoid mold, which can make birds ill.

    The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology also recommends emptying birdbaths daily and brushing them out before refilling. WSO also points out that seeds on the ground can become contaminated easily, so raking or sweeping those discards away when the feeders are cleaned is a good practice as well.

    Hummingbird feeders present different challenges since they hold liquid nectar instead of seeds. WSO’s guidelines are to hang the feeder in the shade to avoid spoilage and to change the nectar twice a week, or sooner if it appears cloudy. The society also recommend weekly cleaning with a solution that is one part white vinegar to four parts water.

    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a great resource for birders, and has information on all aspects of feeding birds, including keeping feeders clean and the birds healthy.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Bill Volkert Guest
  • Tom Schultz Guest