Communities

June, 15 2023 Published by Grand River Chapter - By Sara Hicks

What You Didn’t Know About That Bird Feeder

Who doesn’t love the sound of soft chirps on a summer morning? Maybe you’ve picked up a cute little bird feeder from Terra, or perhaps you built one with your family. If your condominium permits bird feeders (please make sure they do!), what more is there to think about?

Who doesn’t love the sound of soft chirps on a summer morning? Maybe you’ve picked up a cute little bird feeder from Terra, or perhaps you built one with your family. If your condominium permits bird feeders (please make sure they do!), what more is there to think about?

That cute little bird feeder may be encouraging unwanted guests to visit your balcony or front step. In return, this could be quite a nuisance for your neighbours, and may result in a call from your condominium manager if the company it invites goes beyond birds.

Bird feeders and unwanted guests

You’ve set up your bird feeder in hopes of catching a glimpse of a house sparrow, black-capped chickadee, or perhaps even the quick-snackin’ blue jay. You eagerly await welcomed guests as you look out onto your balcony or window. Instead, you lock eyes with large eyes and dark claws.

Raccoons love bird feeders.

In theory, trash pandas are quite adorable, aren’t they? However, raccoons are known to be aggressive, territorial, and carriers of disease.

Additionally, your bird feeder could attract rodents, squirrels, and chipmunks. While watching squirrels do gymnastics can be amusing, and chipmunks stuffing their faces can be cute, it is also not advisable to give them a regular food source. These critters can create thousands of dollars worth of damage to properties. Some decide to make their homes near the food and will stop at nothing to enter your roof.

Preventing lingering guests

Look, we’re not saying to give up on your bird feeder but to be mindful of the types of guests it may attract. Luckily for us all, there are ways to prevent your bird feeder from being an all-creatures-attraction.

Keep it clean.

That’s right. Your bird feeder requires regular maintenance. Tidy any fallen seeds to not attract rodents, pigeons, or blackbirds. You should also clean your bird feeder once a month with a safe disinfectant solution.

Use or attach a seed tray.

A seed tray is a great way to handle the mess that comes with a bird feeder. This can act as the first barrier of defense against fallen seeds and nuts.

Add a baffle.

It’s kind of like an umbrella for your bird feeder. By attaching a baffle on top of the feeder, it makes it harder for squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons to access the feed inside.

Try a “squirrel proof” bird-feeder.

Squirrels can be quite determined, but there are many bird feeders on the market that make it difficult for them and large birds to hog all the seed. It may not work perfectly, but it may be enough of a deterrent for them to give up and go elsewhere.

These are a handful of suggestions on how to have a bird feeder while also being able to sit back, kick-up your feet, and bird watch from the comfort of your own home.

Sometimes, you may hear from the condo manager if the critters cannot be controlled. There have been instances where bird feeders had to be prohibited in condominiums, because they were simply too tempting to the neighbourhood raccoons. In one circumstance, the raccoons did not get the memo and decided to wait for the return of the feeders. In the meantime, they scavenged in garbage cans and tore into the roofs to get comfortable. They ripped apart insulation to make nests for their babies, and their invasion resulted in thousands of dollars fo damage to the condominium, from their safe removal to the clean-up, repair, and reinforcement of certain areas. The pest control company ended up using coyote urine around the site as a deterrent, hoping the raccoons would believe predators were nearby. It can also work for rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, and skunks who think about settling near your home. Always consult with your property manager first!


Sara Hicks, B.A., (H.), OLCM, RCM, LCCI
Vice President, Owner, MF Property Management
www.mfproperty.ca

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