You can quickly change your ordinary backyard into a bird paradise by adding bird feeders, a birdbath, and a few birdhouses. You will be able to attract various types of birds, dependent on placement and types of birdhouses you put out. For example, bluebirds like birdhouses in open fields and meadows while woodpeckers prefer a birdhouse located near the woods or forest.
If you own a birdhouse or plan to put one in your backyard, keep in mind that they need to be cleaned at least once or twice a year. Keeping your birdhouses clean will help protect birds from disease and pests, which will keep them safe and healthy.
Why is Cleaning Your Bird House Important?
Just because they are birds, doesn’t mean they don’t want a nice place to call home. Dirty birdhouses, feeders, and birdbaths are less attractive and uninviting. If you want the birds to flock to your yard, make sure that the birdhouses provided are clean and suitable for the birds. It is important to know that a dirty birdhouse can house detriments like rodents, insects, bacteria, fungus and feather mites; all of which can potentially spread diseases to birds that are nesting as well as their vulnerable hatchlings.
Keeping your birdhouses clean will minimize the majority of these risks. Birds will often reuse a clean birdhouse time and again and can also attract additional birds throughout the summer.
What Time of Year is Best to Clean Out a Bird House?
You should be cleaning your birdhouses at least once, if not twice a year. The best time of year to clean them would be during the first few weeks of August. This is usually the time that the nesting brood has fledged and moved on. For most birds, one cleaning at the close of breeding season will suffice. However, if you live in temperate climates where birds brood more than once, you may want to clean after each bird family. This will encourage more nesting and will also attract new birds.
Always be certain that the birdhouse is vacant before attempting to clean it. If for any reason you are unsure, tap on the side or roof of the house. Listen for the sounds of any movement or chirping. You may also be able to peek inside. For safety, peek in at an angle; a frightened bird will fly straight out if they try to flee.
10 Easy Steps to a Clean Bird House
- Once you have confirmed that there are no longer any birds nesting in your birdhouse, you can begin the cleaning process.
- Begin by opening the birdhouse. There is usually a built-in hatch on the top, side or back of the birdhouse. Each birdhouse is different. If there is not a way to open the birdhouse, you can partially disassemble it, to properly clean it.
- Put on a pair of gloves and begin pulling out all of the old nesting material. Place the nesting in a plastic bag.
- Now, you can scrape out any feces or other debris that may be stuck on the inside of the birdhouse. Place the scrapings in the plastic bag and tie it up. Properly disposing of this material will help prevent the spreading of bacteria and parasites.
- Next, you need to mix your cleaning solution. To do this, add one part bleach to nine parts warm water. This should be a very weak mixture. Do not use more bleach than recommended.
- Using a sponge or scrubber, gently scrub the entire birdhouse inside and out. Make sure you get into the corners, entrance hole, and ventilation holes.
- Once you have finished scrubbing your birdhouse, rinse it completely with cold water. You should do this for several minutes to ensure that all of the cleaning solution has been removed. Any remaining chemicals or fumes can harm the birds and deter them from returning.
- Once your birdhouse is completely rinsed, allow it to dry in full sunlight for at least five or six hours. This will allow the birdhouse to thoroughly dry and air out.
- Now, reassemble your birdhouse, or simply close the hatch. Your birdhouse will look as good as new, and the birds will flock to it and have a clean, safe place to call home.
- Put out a few bird feeders and enjoy watching the birds return to build another nest in their newly-cleaned home.