Friday, June 19, 2015

Should I Clean Out My Bird Boxes?

A frequent question I get this time of year is should old nesting material be removed from nest boxes. For sanitary reasons I remove nests after each nesting. There are often unhatched eggs or even dead chicks left after the brood fledges. There may be mites persisting also.

Some folks will leave the material in the box for the next year. In natural cavities there is no one to clean them out and the birds will re-use the cavity. Generally they do build a new nest on top of the old, but some may just do a major renovation of the interior.

Another thing to consider is that birds use nest boxes in the winter for night time roost sites. The old nest may provide a level of insulation for really cold nights.

I think the answer is that you should do what makes you feel best. I'll continue to offer a clean nesting site after each nesting.

Eastern Bluebird by John Ennis