Last chance to clean out your nestboxes!
Posted: Jan 21 2020
With spring hopefully just round the corner, if you haven't already there are only a couple of weeks left in which you can clean out old nests from your nestboxes. Whilst it may still feel like winter, all birds nests are protected and to avoid any risk of disturbing early nesting attempts the cleaning/removal of old nests is only legal between 1st August and the end of January.
Over the breeding season there can be a build-up of parasites in the box which if the box is not cleaned out can remain and infest the young the next breeding season. Nest parasites can have quite an impact on survival and growth of chicks so to give the next inhabitants of your box the best possible start we’d suggest cleaning out any boxes that are used every year.
If you’re going to clean out your boxes it is always best to wear a pair of gloves, and take care not to breathe in any dust from the box. Since the nest might have a variety of parasites and damp material can have fungi growing on it, we suggest you tip the old nest straight into a bag and put this into your bin. Once you’ve emptied any material from the nest box, to kill any remaining parasites or eggs pour boiling water into the nest box. Leave the box to dry then replace the lid. If you place a handful of wood shavings or hay in the box it may encourage birds to use it as a roost site before they start nesting. Rehang your box and its good for another year.