By Melissa Mayntz, About.com Guide
Birders who know how to clean a bird house are taking steps to protect their backyard bird families from pests and disease while making their bird houses even more attractive for new nesting birds. Like cleaning bird feeders, cleaning a bird house is essential for good bird health and safety.
Just like a dirty, damaged bird feeder, a dirty bird house is less attractive to backyard birds. Dirty bird houses can also harbor rodents, insects, feather mites, fungus and bacteria that can spread disease to nesting birds. Cleaning a bird house minimizes these hazards and makes the home more attractive to nesting birds, and a clean bird house encourages reuse with either the same bird family or additional birds looking for suitable nesting sites.
Ideally, a bird house should be cleaned after the nesting brood has completely fledged and no longer returns to the nest. For many bird species, a single cleaning after the end of the breeding season is sufficient, but in temperate regions where birds may raise multiple broods the bird house can be cleaned between each new family to encourage more nesting. If you aren't sure whether the house is occupied or not, tap gently on the sides or roof to listen for responsive scufflings or cheeps, or peak inside the house carefully through the roof or moveable side to check for nestlings. If the birds are still present, wait at least another week before checking again to give them plenty of time to vacate the home.
To thoroughly clean a birdhouse…
To ensure that your bird houses are as clean and safe as possible for your nesting or roosting backyard birds…
By cleaning a bird house properly, backyard birders provide a safe, happy home for their backyard birds.