Can Bird Feeders Get Wet? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

As an avid bird lover, it is normal for you to get anxious about your bird feeders getting wet especially if it’s during the rainy season.

Yes, bird feeders can get wet if it is not protected from moisture or rain.

A wet bird feeder equals wet bird seed and you do not want to have that as it tends to get moldy, smell and can cause diseases for the birds.

It’d easy to forget that when it’s all summer and sunshine but the rain comes with it’s own challenges

In this article we will explore the challenges of wet bird feeders and some ways to avoid your bird seed getting wet. 

Can Bird Feeders Get Wet?

Can Bird Feeders Get Wet

It is very possible for bird feeders to get wet because they are outdoors and usually not within shade.

As a backyard bird lover it is natural to get anxious with the advent of the rainy season as that means bird seed can get wet easily.

Wet birdseed is not only going to get wasted, but it is easily susceptible to bacteria growth which can cause diseases in the birds.

It can also grow moldy and start sprouting. This then defeats the purpose of backyard birding as bird food should be clean and healthy for the birds to eat. 

Once the birdseed becomes wet and soaked it is no longer healthy for the birds as it could inhibit bacteria such as salmonella and cause other infections to the birds. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on using vinegar to clean your bird feeders

What Are The Risks With A Wet Bird Feeder?

There are a lot of risks associated with wet birdseed which makes it unsuitable and unhealthy to the birds who visit your bird feeder.

Here are some of the problems wet birdseed can cause:

  • Diseases and Infection Outbreak

Wet birdseed gets moldy and creates a good environment for bacteria and mold to grow. The bacteria causes the birdseed to get rotten and when the birds eat it, they get very sick.

Also the birds can transfer the bad food to other birds which can then cause an outbreak as birds are easily susceptible to sickness. 

  • Clumping

Another significant problem that comes with wet birdseed is clumping and stickiness. Bird seed should be dry so the birds can easily pick them and eat. 

However, some bird seeds are even more likely to clump together and this makes it difficult for the birds to be able to reach the food.

  • Waste 

The wet moldy bird seed will lead to a lot of waste as the birds will most likely not eat it.

If you have multiple feeders with a lot of feed in it when it rains, it is more probable to go to waste after it rains.

Once the birds notice the seed is wet, they will most likely fly off to find a fresh source of food and you’ll have waste food on your hands.

  • Sprouts 

They are called seeds for a reason and when water mixes with a fertile seed the next thing is growth.

Your wet bird seed can start sprouting after a while and the birds will not touch this. It could also grow into weeds if the seeds fall to a bare patch of soil under the feeders.

  • Smell

Wet birdseed gives off an unpleasant smell after a while as it gets more rotten and spoiled.

This smell can attract rodents and other unwanted visitors to your bird feeders since they will think it is trash.

Should You Leave Bird Feeders Out In The Rain?

You shouldn’t leave your bird feeder out in the rain unless you have a rain or water guard installed or you are using an all weather bird feeder.

It is better to move your bird feeder indoors till the rain has stopped falling so you have dry seed to present your birds.

If you do not have a rain guard on your bird feeder, you can purchase one from any hardware store or buy online.

These guards are shaped like umbrellas and serve the purpose of protecting both your birdseed and your birds from the rain.

You can also create an all weather bird feeder at home. There are do-it-yourself instructions to do this successfully. 

Also check out this article on are bird feeders messy

Is There A Waterproof Bird Feeder?

There are all weather bird feathers designed to protect your birds feed through rain and shine.

These waterproof bird feeders come with preinstalled water guards and are oftentimes designed in a way to protect the birds from rain.

There are many amazing designs you can choose from and you can find great choices on Amazon and also on other online retail stores like the Backyard Wild Birds

Do Birds Feed In The Rain?

We have seen little birds flitting around in the rain especially when it’s just light showers.

Birds have bodies designed to protect them from wetness and cold when it rains and except it is a really heavy downpour, they will go about their activities including feeding. 

The secret to this is that birds feathers are designed to keep them warm.

They are able to trap air pockets under their feathers to keep them warm and they will fluff up their feathers to retain the heat for a longer period. 

Birds do not have large energy reserves so after a few hours they will get hungry and usually have to venture out to find food.

Usually during this period, most backyard birders report that they have more birds coming to the feeding stations during or after a downpour.

This is because it is easier for the birds to find the source than having to flit around looking for food.

Having an all weather feeder definitely helps out the birds during the rainy season as they can easily find food and shelter at your feeders.

How To Dry Out Wet Bird Seeds

The best solution to not having wasted wet bird seeds is to avoid getting them wet in the first place.

You cannot dry out wet bird seeds because it gets spoiled no matter the amount of drying.

Of course you can easily spread out the seeds in the sun to fry out but the damage has been done already.

For shelled bird seed, once it gets wet the meat of the seed immediately absorbs the water and will start getting spoiled.

The best option is to take out the wet soggy seed and thoroughly clean your feeder and replace it with fresh bird seed.

If you dry the seeds and still feed it to the birds, there is a risk of infection as birds are not so strong. 

How Can You Protect Your Bird Feeders From The Rain

With the advent of the raining season there are several ways you can effectively protect your feeders from rain and wet and they include:

  • Buying or Building an All Weather Bird Feeder

To avoid birdseed getting wet, you can purchase an all weather feeder from a hardware store or online retail outlets. You can also build one at home with leftover materials. 

  • Move the Feeder Once it Starts to Rain

If your bird feeder does not have protection from the rain then the best option is to move the feeder indoors once it starts to rain. This basically to protect the birdseed from getting wet.

  • Install a rain guard 

You do not necessarily have to buy a new bird feeder.

You can simply buy a rain guard and hang them on your bird feeder so the water runs off the body of the guard and drains away instead of directly into the feeder. 

You can also make use of baffles and this serves the dual purpose of protecting your feeder from both rain and squirrels.

  • Feeder position

Position your feeder under a roof or canopy as this will protect it from rain.

If you have a thick tree in your backyard, hanging the feeder under can be a good way to keep the bird seeds safe from wet.


With the rains coming, it is important to know how to protect your feeders from rain to avoid wet and soggy birdseed.

Wet bird seed can cause diseases and it leads to a lot of waste. You can purchase an all weather feeder to ensure your birdseed doesn’t get wet.

Birds feed in the rain because they do not have high energy reserves and their feathers are able to keep them warm during a light shower.

Once birdseed gets wet, you have to throw it out as it will eventually get spoiled even if you dry it out.

You can protect your feeders from wet by installing a water guard, moving the feeder once it starts raining and positioning your feeders in a place where they won’t get wet.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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