January is the perfect month to give your bird boxes a thorough clean as they can harbour harmful fleas and parasites over winter. Some birds will start building a nest as early as late January so all cleaning should be done before February ready for our feathered friends to make their new home.
Clean bird boxes by:
- Open the box and remove the old nest - there may be an un-hatched egg in the nest which unfortunately won't hatch now, this will need to be disposed of.
- Brush out the box with a stiff brush taking care to reach all the corners and hard to reach spaces.
- Using boiling water, thoroughly wash out the box. The boiling water will kill any remaining pests.
- Leave to dry thoroughly before replacing the lid to prevent mould build up.
- Do not use any insecticides or chemicals when cleaning.
- Repair any damaged parts of the nest and return it to its site.
If you find that the nest has not been used, it may need to be moved to a more suitable site. Birds like a well shaded area that is protected from strong winds. You can try mounting the box on a north or east facing wall if you can’t find a suitable tree.
The box should be at least 1.25m off the ground to prevent cats from reaching the chicks, however most bird species will prefer the box to be at least 2 metres high. Angle the box so that it is facing slightly downwards, this way rain will be deflected by the roof rather than coming through the hole.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with one of our Gardening Angels.