Bird box maintenance for spring arrivals
We have over 130 bird boxes here at the Tropical Butterfly House, dotted on trees across the whole centre. As you can imagine, cleaning this many boxes is a big job! But you may be thinking, why do you have to clean them out at all?
The nesting material from past years can harbour ectoparasites such at mites, which can deter some birds from occupying the nest. The box may also become too full of old nesting material and therefore leave this year’s nest too close to the entrance hole, making it easier for predators to reach the eggs.
We found a variety of nesting material that sparrows and tits have used to protect their eggs over the last two years, including fur from our Shetland pony Corrie, and many feathers from our parrots, peacocks and guinea fowl. Nearly every box had a nest made from a different material!
Remember, if you want to clean your bird box at home, Bird Protection Law permits this only to happen between 1st September and 31st January so that you do not disturb any nesting birds. Make sure you wear gloves and a dust mask to protect yourself from any fungal spores or parasites living in the nest.