Spring Cleaning

A bird box with a someone holding a cleaning brush.

If you have a bird box in your yard, now is the time to give it a thorough spring cleaning. A clean box is an important step in attracting birds and keeping them healthy while nesting inside.

Cleaning is easier if you take the box down, but before you do, take a careful peek inside to see if it is currently occupied by a mouse, squirrel or bird seeking shelter from the cold. If no one’s inside, get the following items ready:

  • rubber gloves
  • face mask (to avoid breathing in the dust)
  • scrub brush
  • bucket of soapy water (use unscented dish soap)
  • bleach
  • bucket of water

 Cleaning steps

  1. Put on your gloves and mask and take down the box. Remove old nesting material.
  2. Using the scrub brush and soapy water, scrub the inside of the box to remove any remaining dirt and debris.
  3. To eliminate bacteria and parasites, as well as any mold or mildew, scrub the box with a mix of one-part bleach and 10-parts water.
  4. Rinse the box thoroughly with water.
  5. Leave the box open and in the sun to dry and air out.

Once the box is dry, return it to its position and cross your fingers – hopefully your freshly cleaned box will attract a pair of nesting birds. Leave it up all year to attract birds that nest at different times.

Note: Avian influenza (bird flu) is rarely transmitted to humans. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to wear disposable/rubber gloves and to wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning a bird box.

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