shop here for birding equipment

Bird Feeder Mess!

What Can I Do About The Bird Feeder Mess?

bird feeder mess

Product suggestions on this page with 1-5 star ratings.

Asked by a visitor to this site.

The bird feeder mess 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!

Get The Bonus 7 Part Series

Hummingbirds "The Jewelled Warriors"

When You Sign Up For
"Tips & How To's"


Thank you for bringing this aggravating and discouraging situation up so others can learn how to solve this problem too.

6 Methods for Bird Feeder "Mess-Mending":

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 that are filled with mature nut-meat inside.

The best seed is often used for human consumption. Then some food processors will sell the under-developed seed as bird seed.

Always check several seeds when purchasing a new brand to make sure there is a full size kernel inside.

2. If you are purchasing a low quality mixed blend of bird seed, then there is likely milo, red millet, wheat, barley, and oats etc., in the mix which are all seeds that very few backyard birds will eat, if any at all.

So the shoveling process of seed onto the ground goes on, while the wild birds are looking for one they prefer to eat. Making a big mess on the ground below!

The solution to the above 2 problems is to always buy good quality seed. The extra expense will soon be made up with far less waste.

And if you are purchasing good quality mixed seed then the seeds that backyard birds don't eat will not be in your good quality mixed seed bag.

High Quality Seed Makes #1 - Try Wagner's

or Morning Song - 2 Excellent Brands

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 bird feeder mess 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. Nothing will be wasted!

  1. Secondly the seed catcher tray will 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.

bird feeder messFemale Cardinal: She Will Add to the Mess Too

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 on the ground.

It also provides a flat surface for wild birds like Mourning Doves to eat, who normally cannot feed from a feeder with perches.

This way the mess is in the tray where it gets another chance to be eaten and much easier for you to cleanup.

Seed Catcher Trays Get Rid of Bird Feeder Mess
& Provide a Second Chance for the Seed to Get Eaten as They Act as a Platform Feeder Too.

Various Styles of Seed Catcher Trays

Is the Ground Bare Under Your Bird Feeders?

4. Sunflower seed hulls contain a toxin which prevents some other plants from growing. This may be the reason you notice that the ground is bare under your feeder and plants do not grow.

Sunflower seeds are not alone either, there are other plants that do the same thing, like black walnuts. This is the way these plants deal with reducing competition for growing space.

This is called allelopathy:


Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals that influence the germination, growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms.

To reduce the hulls of sunflower seed killing off plants under your bird feeders us a leaf vacuum on a regular basis.

This will also reduce the problem of disease caused by bird droppings under your bird feeder.

Vacuum and rake the area directly affected under your feeding stations on a regular basis and you will have a much tidier and more bird cleanly area.

   See a Good Selection of Leaf Blowers   

5. Install a concrete patio or use paving bricks or flagstone to build a patio for the birds. This will make it easy for the ground feeding birds to graze on the fallen seed and much easier for you to keep clean.

If you maintain the ground under your feeders in a healthy condition then ground feeding birds like Cardinals, Finches, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Sparrows etc., will have a place to feed. This will relieve the congestion at your bird feeders too.

6. Number 6 is a suggestion from a follower of

From Tim in Minnesota, USA

Just read the article about what to do with the seed mess.

What we do is pile up rocks under the feeders, mainly around the pole.

The seed falls between the rocks to the ground.

The seed seldom grows.

Works pretty good!

Hope this helps to solve your bird feeder mess problem and easier for you to manage.

Happy Birding!


How To Fix Backyard Bird Feeding Problems Here & In Right Column:

  • Pests at Bird Feeders Understanding all the pests that come to bird feeders and bird houses is essential before success at controlling them is possible.
  • #1 Killer of Wild Birds Cats are the leading cause of bird deaths in North America. Pets and feral cats are responsible for millions of wild bird deaths each year.
  • Backyard Predators There are other animals that prey on our songbirds in our backyards. Learn what they are so you can help.
  • Where are they in winter? It can happen any time of year. The birds you were happily feeding all of sudden disappear. What can be done?
  • Bird Feeding Problems Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of problems to overcome when feeding birds in your outdoor space. Find the answers.

Are Rats Your Problem?

  • Rodent Control of Rats This situation calls for strategic and timely action. Learn the steps to achieving rat control.

Wild Bird Rescue

> > Bird Feeder Mess

Get The Bonus 7 Part Series

Hummingbirds "The Jewelled Warriors"

When You Sign Up For
"Tips & How To's"

Was this information helpful?  

Please let me know what you think of this page

or to add some information of your own click here.

Thank You for Visiting!

Please Make This Site Your
Guide to Backyard Wild Birds