It's that time of year across New Jersey when everything soon comes alive. Plants are beginning to grow and animals are on the move.

It's also a wonderful time of year for many bird species across the Garden State. Aside from our yearly residents, many birds are migrating back to the area for warmer and longer days ahead.

It's also an exciting time for many of New Jersey's residents that look forward to seeing our friends who take flight. Many of us even go as far as setting up bird feeders and birdbaths for our feathered friends.

All of this is great news and puts both us and the birds in a joyous mood. But with that joy also comes responsibility. We need to ensure the well-being of birds that visit for a quick meal, drink, or bath.

On the rim

For most of us, it's completely unintentional. But sometimes our bird feeders and birdbaths can cause illness and disease.

Pretty bird. Obsessed bird. (Craig Allen photo)
Pretty bird. Obsessed bird. (Craig Allen photo)

This happens as more and more birds visit our backyard feeders and birdbaths.

Birds and other animals, such as squirrels, may bring diseases with them that can contaminate the birdseed or water we have set for them.

Getting wet

It's kind of the same when we don't wash our hands for an extended period of time. We pick up more and more germs that can end up in the foods we handle with our hands.

And if we eat something without washing, we're more likely to get sick ourselves.

Photo Credit: Ben Wurst
Photo Credit: Ben Wurst

Another way to think of it is when we leave food out for an extended period of time. Eventually, it becomes unsafe with bacteria that can harm us and make us sick.

For us, refrigerators, sealed bags, and washing our hands help prevent us from getting sick, along with filtered water. The same can't be said for our feathered friends.


With that said, if you're going to be a New Jersey homeowner who puts out a bird feeder or birdbath, please make sure you take on the responsibility that comes with it.

It's not enough to simply provide the birds with the luxury of food and water.

Rescued Hopewell birds
(Mercer County Wildlife Center)

Every now and then, please take the time to clean out your feeders and baths. You'd be surprised at how much waste can build upon them from visitors, so it's important to keep them in a sanitary condition.

Simply put, just be mindful of it and take action whenever a refill on a feeder is needed. Or, in the case of a birdbath, refresh the water at least once a week.

Hungry great spotted woodpecher looking back

Yes, some bird feeders can be a pain to take apart and clean, but it's still important we do this.

And of course, New Jersyians care about our feathered friends. We wouldn't be putting bird feeders out if we didn't.

Bird in a tree
Mike Brant - Townsquare Media

The last thing anyone in New Jersey wants is to see our birds sick. Especially if the cause is unintentional on our part.

So if you have a bird feeder or bath in New Jersey, consider this a friendly reminder to clean them every now and then. Your birds will thank you for it.

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