An important activity, but one that often gets forgotten is the proper maintenance and cleaning of your backyard birdhouses. While this activity does not need to be done terribly often, it is highly recommended that we clean out our birdhouses at least once a year, sometimes twice. The reasons are obvious, a clean and attractive birdhouse, will continue to attract nesting birds, but will also keep your birds both healthy and safe.
If you have yet to get out and clean your birdhouses this year, this might be the perfect time to get out and clean up after this year’s brood. Here are a few tips to make the process fast, efficient and clean!
Check on the tenants
First and foremost, you are going to want to make sure the inhabitants have vacated the premises before you begin the cleaning the process. Use a flashlight to have a peek inside, and give the side of the house a couple of gentle taps while keeping a sharp ear for any movement inside.
Open it up and remove debris
Most nesting boxes are manufactured with an easy access swinging side or front panel or hinged roof. If you have one of these, it certainly makes the process much easier. If not, gently open the birdhouse or take it apart for easy cleaning.
Have a plastic bag and some rubber gloves ready to go, and begin to remove the nesting material and any other debris and waste inside the birdhouse. Place it in the plastic bag, and tie it up for disposal.
Inspect the house
Now that you have the house empty, it’s always a good idea to assess its condition. Be sure to have a look and inspect for any damage like splinters, insect inhabitants and any other damage that might have been caused.
You will also want to have a look at all the ventilation and drainage holes, making sure they are unobstructed.
Give it a good scrub
Some folks will use a mild bleach to scrub out their houses, but we always opt for a “greener” option. There are a wide variety of “green” cleaning products on the market today, made specifically for use around pets and small children, and using them will obviously minimize any risk of harming your birds during cleaning.
Thoroughly scrub all the nooks and crannies including any drainage holes and the entrance hole, and then give it a good rinse with clean water. Set the house out in the sun to ensure it dries completely, removing the risk of mildew and mold growing inside the house.
At this point, you can now reassemble the house if need be, and place it back up in your yard. If you choose not to keep your birdhouse up during the winter months, have it safely stored and ready for use next season.