While it may not feel like it where you live, Spring is officially here! Nothing says "Spring" quite like a bit of Spring Cleaning, and this applies to bird houses as well! If you haven't already done so, it is time to think about cleaning and checking on your feathered friends' houses in anticipation of nesting season. Upkeep of your bird house is a very important step in attracting birds, and to helping maintain bird health.
Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Open the clean-out door of your bluebird or wren house and clean out any old nesting material or debris if you haven't already. We recommend wearing a pair of garden gloves or rubber dish-washing gloves when handling old nest material as it can contain bacteria and mites.
- Check for signs of mold or mildew. If your house shows the beginnings of mold or mildew, you can clean it with a diluted bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach) or an unscented dish soap and warm water solution to keep the mold from spreading or permanently staining your house. To prevent the spread of disease and help keep young birds healthy, we recommend taking the time to follow this step even if mold or mildew are not present. A quick scrub can help prevent mold and mildew before it becomes visible as well as help eradicate any bacteria or parasites that may cause harm to the birds. Rinse well and then open the door and thoroughly air dry.
- Inspect your house for damage. How does your wren house cable look? Give your bamboo or cedar house a once-over. A small crack doesn't necessarily mean your house isn't functional, but be sure to fill any large cracks with wood sealant to prevent any precipitation from getting into the house during inclement spring and summer weather. Check all of the screws and be sure to tighten any that may have worked loose throughout the season. Remember, birds will still use a house that isn't perfect, but you do want to ensure the house is safe.
We recommend that you clean your birdhouses out a minimum of once a year. Cleaning prior to nesting season is a priority but nesting boxes can be cleaned out after every brood has fledged. Cleaning and maintaining your houses will not only reduce parasite problems and increase occupancy and bird health, but will also keep your houses useful longer!
This information applies to bat houses too! A quick check of your bat house parts and cleaning out any residual debris (like an unwanted wasp nest) are the first steps in attracting bats to the house.
If you have further questions on getting your bird or bat house ready, you can also contact us and we will do our best to help!
Do you have any interesting spring cleaning bird stories? Feel free to share below!