We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
Vintage Oaks at Novato,
104 Vintage Way, Suite A-7
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: (415) 893-0500
Fax: (415) 893-0511
Email: Send Message
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Located between Macy's Furniture/BevMo and Pier 1.
Done correctly, bird feeding will not attract rats. However, if there are rats or mice in your yard, then an unguarded source of birdseed can make them undesirably jubilant and visible. To prevent your birdfeeders from contributing to your rodents' larders, there are two things that need to be done:
Keep rodents off your feeder.
Keep food off the ground.
We are professional birdfeeders: these are the situations we set right every day of the week. Come in to the store and we'll walk you through your best options based on the feeders you have and the places you'd like to put them. We've helped thousands of people feed birds without problems and know what works. Fear and panic are not optimal solutions; the methods below are. Don't let the rodents win!
In almost all cases, rodents seen feeding on birdfood are already present in the area: hanging up a feeder will not make rats suddenly materialize, but it can make the local residents more visible since we put birdfeeders out to watch, after all. We can make your birdfood inaccessible to rodents, but once you start peering out of your windows for scurrying creatures in the twilight, you may realize that there are indeed animals out there: mice, rats, and raccoons are ubiquitous inhabitants of almost all residential areas in our temperate climate. To seriously reduce your rodent population, you may need to:
Compared to athletic squirrels with 10 feet jumping ranges, rodents are relatively easy to block. Pole-mounted or dome baffles protect existing feeders, while difficult-to-baffle locations such as deck rail-mounted feeders can still be made inaccessible with weight-sensitive feeders such as the Squirrel Buster series.
If your feeders are not accessible to rodents, then all you have to do is keep the ground clean. In addition to using the "foods that rodents don't like" described above, there are ways to offer almost all foods without creating a mess on the ground.
Traditional seed feeders attract a large volume and variety of birds and are the core of most feeding stations. Their popularity, however, has led to a lot of pet, hardware, and garden stores selling low quality foods and feeders that get people into trouble. Here's how to do seed right:
Poor quality mixes with filler seeds that birds won’t eat are the leading cause of rat-attracting messes. Many blends similar to the top one shown at right are available at grocery, hardware, or pet stores under the generic name of "wild bird seed." They use whatever is cheapest, regardless of whether the birds eat it: the large round reddish milo is one of the worst fillers, but also avoid significant use of cracked corn, wheat, canary seed, and mystery “grain products.” See our Seed Preference Guide for more information.
A good seed mix should feature mainly sunflower (straight black oil sunflower is a good economical option too). Good secondary ingredients include nuts, safflower, or a limited amount of white millet (ground-feeding birds like it; most perching birds don't).
Even a decent mix with no filler ingredients may still have inedible shells, which leads to more "sorting" by birds, sometimes leaving behind edible material. Use 100% edible ingredients like shelled sunflower, hulled millet, or chopped nuts. As long as you have some ground-feeding birds like doves, towhees, sparrows, or quail, any small bits that fall beneath your feeder will quickly be consumed.
If you have few ground-feeding birds, you may want to eliminate the "picking and choosing and dropping" effect inherent to any mix of seeds by just offering a single ingredient. The favorite of all seed-eating birds is shelled sunflower, also called sunflower chips or sunflower hearts. (A shelled peanut feeder attracts a slightly different group of birds, but is another excellent no-mess choice.)
If you have very few ground-feeding birds, the way to completely eliminate residual food on the ground is to use a feeder with a tray. Some feeders have built-in trays, while you can add one to most good quality tube feeders. Then any dropped seeds will fall into the tray, from where they will still be eaten, and never reach the ground. A shelled sunflower feeder with a tray will drop nothing on the ground.