While you might love watching birds from your windows, the sight around their bird feeder might be another story. Spilled seeds piling up and weeds growing underneath your feeder can detract from your birdwatching experience.
Using a seed tray under your feeder can help prevent the mess. It can even help attract a greater variety of birds to your backyard feeder.
1. Catch Spilled Bird Seed
Birds aren’t always the neatest diners. And if seeds are knocked out of your bird feeder onto the ground, weeds might start springing up around your feeder site.
Extra bird seed might also entice less-desired visitors to your yard, like mice and squirrels. Using a seed tray will keep the seed for spilling on to the ground in easy reach of rodents.
If you find a lot of spilled seed on the ground below your feeder, you may also want to consider switching seed mixes. Cheap bird seed mixes often contain fillers such as corn that gets tossed to the ground as birds search for the more filling options.
See also: Where to Hang Seed Feeders for Birds
2. Attract More Birds
Some birds prefer platform-style feeders. While hopper bird feeders tend to attract perching birds, platform feeders can also attract ground-feeding birds like juncos.
A seed tray not only catches spilled bird seed, it also doubles as a platform-style feeder. If you are space-limited, or don’t want to maintain multiple bird feeders, adding a tray can be an easy way to help increase the number of birds in your yard.
3. Preserve Plants
If you are feeding birds sunflower seeds in their shells, you might eventually end up with an unsightly amount of hulls on the ground under your feeder.
Sunflower hulls contain a toxin that prevents other plants from growing. If your bird feeder is hanging in a garden, using a tray under your feeder will help keep the hulls away from your prized plants.
See also: How to Grow a Bird-Friendly Garden
4. Save Money
Backyard bird feeders are happy to see their seeds get eaten. We're less happy to watch it end up on the ground, only to disappear into the soil. Seed trays can help prevent waste by ensuring the seed remains accessible to feeder birds.
If some bird seed does spill out on to the ground below your tray, don’t stress. The amount will be much more manageable. And, ground feeding birds like mourning doves and juncos will be able to help you clean it up.
Maintain Your Seed Tray
Be sure you clean your tray regularly, especially if it is catching sunflower hulls. If it rains, the hulls or seeds in the feeder may become a breeding ground for bacteria, potentially spread diseases to birds. After a storm, empty the seed tray and let it dry before reattaching. Proper care will help keep your bird feeder clean and healthy.
Seed trays are available for a variety of bird feeders, including hopper feeders and pole mounted feeders.