Spring Cleaning is for the Birds! (Cleaning Your Bird House)

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!



Comment on this post (10 comments)

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi Penney,
    If the birds using your birdhouse are in any stage of breeding you don’t want to disturb their process by cleaning out your house. If they are, you can safely clean out the house once the brood has fledged. All the best!

    March 25, 2021

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi Carrie! If you are sure the most recent brood has fledged, it would be safe to clean out your house. Our cleaning instructions refer to our houses so, as we don’t carry ceramic products, I would also advise you to check your specific product instructions before cleaning. Happy Birding!

    March 25, 2021

  • Penney says...

    We are in Dallas Tx . I have a bird house. I love watching the birds come and go. I am very confused. When should I clean it out????

    March 25, 2021

  • Carrie says...

    I have ceramic bird houses. Can I remove twigs and was out and put back up in Spring. There were birds wintering in them.
    Thank you,
    Carrie

    March 25, 2021

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi John! Our cedar birdhouses come with a water-based protective stain already on them to prevent discoloration, mold/mildew and water damage. There is no need to treat your new house with any additional products. Thank you and happy birding!

    March 19, 2021

  • John says...

    I just got my birdhouse. Do you recommend polyurethane new house before mounting, or just leave it as is?

    March 19, 2021

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi Mark!
    Thanks for checking in! We would recommend that you go ahead and clean out and spruce up your house. Even if you have missed the window for the birds to pick your house this time (and you might not have yet!) the birds can still select your house for a subsequent brood. All the best and good luck!

    March 15, 2021

  • Mark Bancroft says...

    Is it too late to clean my birdhouses (March 14th). I haven’t seen any activity around them. I am located in southeast CT. Birds are active at the feeders but not the houses. Many thanks. Mark

    March 15, 2021

  • Nature's Way Bird Products says...

    Hi Don! We recommend removing all the nesting materials to lessen the chances of bacteria or parasites. Thanks for asking!

    August 18, 2020

  • Don says...

    When you say clean the birdhouse before nesting season, do you mean remove everything in the birdhouse and get rid of it? Or leave some of the debris as a starter for the next round of birds to add on to?

    August 18, 2020

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