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The mess under the bird feeder from the fallen bird seed kills the grass or plants depending on where I put the bird feeder.
The seeds germinate and grow, or the squirrels trample everything as they eat from the fallen food on the ground.
I have a squirrel proof feeder so the squirrels eating from the feeder isn't the problem, the birds drop a lot of seed!
Thank you for bringing this aggravating and discouraging situation up so others can learn how to solve this problem too.
1. Purchase a better quality bird seed. Even if you are using one type of seed such as black oil sunflower. It could be that the seed is low quality. When the birds open the shell from low quality seed it is often empty or the seed is immature. This results in the birds scooping out seed looking for ones they regard as suitable to eat.
2. If you are purchasing a low quality mixed blend of bird seed, then there is likely to be milo, red millet, wheat, barley, and oats etc., which are all seeds that very few backyard birds will eat. So the shoveling process of seed onto the ground goes on, while the wild birds are looking for one they can eat.
3. Seed catching trays attach under the feeder and all the seed that is thrown from the feeder will fall into the tray, avoiding all that bird feeder mess. It also provides a flat surface for wild birds like Mourning Doves to eat, who normally cannot feed from a feeder with perches.
Once you have solved the problem of poor seed and are committed to a better quality product you will notice a big difference in the amount of seed that falls to the ground. Any debris that does fall will be shells which the wild birds will not be able to eat.
If this is still a problem and something that you do not want to deal with there are two things you can do.
1. First, purchase only seed which is hulled, no shells. Such as Wagner's Shell Free Blend or Morning Song Sunflower Chips & Hearts.
2. Secondly you can use a seed catcher tray to catch the shells. You will always have a little spillage, it is difficult to not have any mess at all when feeding wild birds, but you can certainly keep it to a minimum.
Hope this helps to solve your bird feeder mess.