For those who like a tidy yard, seed hulls spilling from the bird feeder make an unsightly mess. Not to worry. You can have your tidy yard and your bird feeders, too. Here are ideas that will make your feeding station inviting to birds and will also help you win the battle with the mess.

Backyard LandscapeObscura99 / iStock / Getty Images

Better yet, some of these ideas can be combined, doubling your impact and elevating the look of your special oasis for the neighborhood songbirds.

1. Seed catchers

Specially designed trays attach to the bottom of hanging feeders or onto feeder poles to catch dropped seeds and hulls. Because birds are extremely light for their size, they should have no problem hopping aboard to collect the extra nuggets. They also make cleanup easier by reducing spillage onto your lawn or patio. 

Bonus: They keep dropped seeds and kernels out of reach of other backyard critters you’d prefer not to feed.

2. Mulch

Give dropped hulls buffer space to decompose and return to the earth. Mulching the ground beneath your feeder offers an organic solution. Mulch also provides excellent weed suppression, as long as you make the layer at least three inches deep. It does decompose and gets weather-beaten after a season or two of rain, sunlight, and other exposures. But topping it off with a fresh layer each spring will make it look good as new. 

3. Pavers

A paver brick surface beneath your bird feeding station provides a hard surface that makes cleanup a breeze. Get creative and turn it into a weekend project that adds a unique focal point to your yard. Choose two or three shades of brick to create unique patterns or the classic tiling effect always adds a touch of elegance. Finally, a paver kit at your local home improvement store has everything you need to achieve that textured artisan effect with minimum effort.

4. Garden nook

A little landscaping can transform your feeding station into a bird-welcoming corner in the yard. What you plant will depend on your personal taste and your climate. But you can’t go wrong with native plantings, things that grow and thrive naturally in your region. Better yet, look for growing things that can double as hiding nooks and food for the birds.

Bluebirds & Pink FlowersStanley45 / iStock / Getty Images

  • Shrubs offer birds a safe place to feast on their snack (out of sight of predators) while providing winter berries.
  • Flowers with bright colors are eye-catching to birds, drawing them in for a landing.
  • Ornamental grasses that are native to your area can double as winter interest for the yard, while also providing a handy food source for the birds.

5. No-waste bird seed mix

Take the proactive route and feed the birds without the messy hulls and unsightly weeds. Everything in Lyric Delite No-Waste Mix is 100% edible. The birds fly in to find nothing but nuggets to feast on, while you get zero mess. Everyone wins.