For most gardeners the colder months bring a bit of rest, but they also bring their own share of garden-related chores. From houseplant care and fruit tree pruning, to tool sharpening and seed starting, there are lots of things to be done over the coming weeks. I’d like to add one more important task to your winter to-do list: Clean out and spruce-up ‘used’ bird houses and nest boxes. Here are five quick tips for proper bird house maintenance.
1. Remove old nesting materials from bird houses and nest boxes before each new nesting season begins.
2. Scrub out the interior of the empty box or house using a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach) and a stiff brush. Allow to thoroughly dry.
3. For unpainted boxes and houses: Apply an external coat of a natural wood preservative such as linseed oil.
For painted boxes and houses: Repaint the exterior every three to five years, or whenever a touch-up is needed.
4. Check the box’s hardware and tighten or replace any loose screws or roof panels.
5. Be sure your nest boxes and houses are back in place by the end of February. This gives male birds plenty of time to find a suitable nesting site before the breeding season begins.
What birds take up residence in your nest boxes?