We have two houses and have had wrens every year. This year we hear them singing, but I don't think they are nesting. I have heard that you don't clean the house out. Is that correct or should we clean it out?
I encourage people to clean out bluebird boxes after each nesting or at least every fall because they aren’t good excavators. Bluebirds just build on top of old nests until the babies are sometimes are too close to the entrance hole and fall out before they are ready to fly.
Wrens can clean out their own box and the presence of a used House Wren nest may actually encourage wrens to re-nest. But you should check to make sure the nest doesn’t have any unhatched eggs or pests. If it’s a mess inside and the drainage holes are plugged go ahead and clean it out. You can leave some sticks below the house to help them rebuild. There is usually at least a two week window before they nest again.
To clean the nest box I usually place a plastic bag over the nest and just sweep it all in and twist the bag shut. You can rinse out the house with a water hose or diluted bleach spray. Make sure the drainage holes are unplugged and leave the house open to dry for a couple days. Finally dispose of the old nest in the trash and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Do the same House Wrens nest in the same house every year? http://bit.ly/uDBbIb
- Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
- Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses http://bit.ly/rBLsGQ
- The best suet for wild birds http://goo.gl/yY7bGt
- Roosting Pockets: Warm Shelter from Frosty Winds http://goo.gl/QOPbMw