About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Winter Bird houses

Should I take down my bird house for the winter? – Ludington, MI

In the late summer or fall, after breeding season is completed for cavity nesting birds you can clean out your nest box and put it in storage or leave it out for the birds to use as a shelter. Labor Day is the perfect time to clean and repair all your bird houses.

I would recommend taking in decorative gourds and pottery houses that wouldn’t last long in Michigan winters. Wood and recycled plastic houses however are the perfect place for Carolina Wrens, bluebirds, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, and sparrows to spend the night during the cold winter months.

Bird houses or Nest Boxes should be cleaned out at least once a year. It is easier to clean out nest boxes in September because the weather is usually nice. If you forget, you have to make sure they are cleaned out by the end of February before nesting begins in March. 

I usually place a plastic bag over old nest material 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.

Taking care to clean your feeders and nest boxes makes you a responsible steward of nature.
Related articles:
How to Attract Bluebirds: http://bit.ly/nfCq2b
When do you clean bird houses?: http://bit.ly/oiB7fu
5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses: http://bit.ly/oBBA0d
How to Participate in NestWatch: http://bit.ly/opPqQ3
When is the best time to put up a bird house?: http://bit.ly/nq6z7d