Activity around the feeders has increased recently. Birds that nested elsewhere have returned to our yards for the winter. A sure sign of this is the growing number of juncos and the sudden appearance of golden-crowned sparrows. This action is a reminder to take a look at the feeder inventory. Some might need repairs and others should be replaced. The never-ending chore of keeping them clean always needs attending to.
There is news on the feeder front, and it involves a new line of feeders known as EcoClean. They are available exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited stores and the concept is exciting for anyone who feeds birds and worries about keeping feeders clean and birds healthy.
Wild Birds Unlimited has teamed up with Agion Technologies to incorporate Agion into their new feeders. Agion is a antimicrobial agent based on naturally occurring silver. It is registered with the EPA, FDA and USDA for a broad range of uses. It is already used extensively for applications in health care and consumer products, but this is the first time the antimicrobial feature has been used in backyard bird feeding products.
EcoClean feeders use Agion’s silver-based technology to inhibit the surface growth of damaging microbes. The process is incorporated into products that include cell phones, shoes, keyboards, water filters, medical catheters and ice machines. Now it is being used in bird feeders.
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I’ve had the opportunity to examine several of the new items and look forward to putting them to the test. Large numbers of birds mean some sick birds will appear at the feeders, and the bacteria is easily spread to others. The feeder I purchased will be filled with black sunflower seeds or bits and pieces of shelled sunflower seeds. Not only does this feeder use the new technology but it has other features I like. It is sturdy and well built. Not only does the top lift off for cleaning but, more important, the bottom just snaps out, making it easy to clean. This Seed Tube Feeder’s label states that it will “inhibit the growth of damaging bacteria, mold, mildew, fungus and other microbes.”
In addition to several feeder types, the line includes Perch Covers. You can slip these Agion incorporated covers over the perches on your other feeders. Catch trays are also in the EcoClean line. They attach to the bottom of the tube feeders to catch any spilled seed before it hits the ground. Catch trays aren’t new but trays that inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus are. This is important when you consider one or more birds often stand in the tray and feed on the dropped seeds.
These feeders and their accessories have been field-tested for about a year in selected parts of the country. The reviews are very favorable. Now they are available for the general public and that will be the real test. A mix of different styles range in price from $29.99 to $115.99. It won’t be long before holiday shopping begins so consider this my first helpful suggestion
Write to Joan Carson, PO Box 217, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.