This week I have finally cleaned out my bird feeders. I know this should really be done regularly to minimise the spread of finch trichomonosis and Paridae pox. However the thought of the task and the time it takes has meant I have left it far too long between cleans. Most of my bird feeders are the squirrel proof variety and do come apart, but I am always worried about getting all the bits back together and in the right order. Because I had left it so long it made the cleaning process all the more difficult. Green algae needed removing from corners and crevices and some of the seeds were sprouting! To my shame, I am sure the last layer of peanuts in one of the feeders was starting to ferment and my fat tray was a disgrace – a layer of black mouldy seed husks, stuck fast to the bottom of the container. The cleaning process involved scraping and probing with a variety of instruments, lots of changes of hot soapy water and a pan scourer, now designated for the purpose. I felt very virtuous as I refilled the feeders and hung them out for my birds – I hope they appreciate my hard work!
Next I turned to my bird baths – I have a couple of smaller ones on spikes and one that hangs from a fence bracket. They all needed a good scrub but it soon became clear that my larger bird bath has seen better days. As I took hold of it, bits of concrete started to come away in my hand until it resembled a part eaten pie. I’ve cleaned what remains but I feel my birds deserve a new one!
It brought to mind the bathroom I had put up with for over 16 years. I could bear it no more and embarked on a refit last year. I am now at the bird bathroom design stage – what do I replace it with? The outgoing free standing one is made of concrete – clearly water has seeped into cracks and expanding ice has caused it to break. An online search reveals a variety of alternative materials to choose from, but they all have their own disadvantages. Plastic/resin is not very heavy so these may blow over unless pinned down with stakes – and to be honest some of them look really naff. There is an array of metal ones available – some are really cheap, so likely to be flimsy and have similar issues to plastic. Others are more robust, so you would think heavier, but they’re also expensive. Then there are the coloured glass ones on metal stands – I feel sure it wouldn’t be long before a careless swing of a spade or fork caused a breakage. The stone ones are pricey and I would need help with lifting. I can see this going the same way as my bathroom – weeks of indecision, starting off with a price in mind which had at least doubled by the time I’d finished!