2004 Bird feeder tid-bitsIf you have a bird feeder in your yard and enjoy watching them from the window, here's a list of eight things you should do to keep it safe, including telling your neighbors what they should do. Good luck, especially with the one about keeping rodents away. Rodents love bird feeders. Excuse the pun, but I don't think it will fly.
It would be so much easier and safer if people just wouldn't feed the birds and ducks. Then the birds could return to eating natural food sources, helping the environment by controling insects and weeds, and you wouldn't be contributing to spreading Salmonellosis (a bacterial disease), Trichomoniasis (a parasitic disease), Aspergillosis (a fungus causing pneumonia and bronchitis), and Avian Pox (a virus causing warts).
Here's a neat, inexpensive contraption to keep birds away from a food supply, and I suppose it would work with a garden area too. It was designed by Janet Schmitz of Union Grove, WI and submitted to the National Hog Farmer for its Aug. 15, 1988 issue on Inventions. She says, "We were having problems with barn swallows and various other birds in our finishing barns and around feed bins. We were concerned about the potential for spreading disease. I took some aluminum baking tins and nailed and/or glued some wood lathe to the backs for support." These reflectors move in the air current and in the sunlight they are very irritating to the birds. But a side benefit writes farmer Schmitz is that it entertains the pigs. In 1988 this cost about $1.40. Probably $3.00 now. I like the little piggies she apparently painted on her invention. A very creative lady.
Even 18 years ago, farmers had an institutional memory, probably passed down from grandpa, that you don't want diseased birds around hogs (flu epidemic of 1918). But I don't think it's a good idea to have bird waste and rodent pests around your yard and patio either.