Much like a busy restaurant needs constant cleaning to maintain sanitary conditions, so dose a busy bird feeder or bird bath. Left unchecked, unclean receptacles can develop fungi and bacteria, potentially causing disease and even death of your resident songbirds.
The communal feeding and bathing by your birds allows for the easy spread of disease. Contaminated food or droppings can cause a host of diseases and infectins that can result in harmful growths and other effects on the birds.
Extra attention should be paid during cold winter months, since wet foods can quickly develop molds. When adding new seed to your feeders, make a habit of removing leftover seed first, and cleaning periodically.
Depending on weather conditions, bird feeders should generally be cleaned every two weeks. Baths should be emptied and refilled every few days. For a thorough cleaning of feeders and bird baths, use 9 parts water to one part bleach, or use vinegar (bleach can whiten wood feeders).