Most birds who nested in your birdhouse throughout the spring and summer will leave it in the fall when it becomes too cold for them to fly.
The fall is the only time of year when bird homes are free of breeding or roosting birds, therefore it’s important to empty them then. In order to make room for new birds in the spring, it is necessary to clean out. This involves the removal of old nesting material. It’s ideal to clean out the bird home in the fall, preferably in early September.
It’s that time of year again, when the old debris in your yard-mounted bird house needs to be cleaned out, and disinfecting to eradicate any lingering bacteria is an absolute essential.
Cleaning out bird houses is an autumn chore, and the best time to do so is in September, when there is little chance of disturbing any lingering avian residents.
Late in the nesting season, it is possible (though not common) that there may still be tenants present.
If you want to be ready for early roosting birds in the late fall and winter, you should clean out your bird house as early as mid-August and be done with it.
The only way to attract fresh birds to nest there is to empty the box of any evidence of previous occupants, as birds do not reuse nesting material from previous seasons.
Birds may use birdhouses as winter roosts, so it’s a good idea to get them ready for the season as early as possible. This means taking them down in August to clean them out and putting them back up by the end of September.
Bird houses need cleaning in fall
Cleaning out the bird house in early fall is ideal for the majority of North American backyard birds.
By mid-August, most birds will have flown the coop in preparation for the arduous task of surviving the chill of Autumn nights.
Great, then you may rest assured that the bird home will be devoid of its usual inhabitants.
To clean, all that’s required is a removal of the nesting material and a good washing; if necessary, sanitizing the box is also a good idea, as germs can survive even after the box has been cleaned.
If the breeding birds have already left in August, you can clear out the bird home, but you can also wait until September or even November if you like.
Birds who use bird homes, however, will typically roost in the box during the cooler fall and winter months for warmth.
In that case, it’s imperative that you clear out the box as soon as possible so that the birds may begin roosting.
Carry out other maintenance
The point of clearing out a bird house in the fall is to avoid disturbing any lingering nestlings by waiting until after the birds and their young have left.
At this point, you should give the inside of the birdhouse a good cleaning with some plain dish soap.
Easy as pie, you only need to be able to go inside the birdhouse to do some other maintenance before you can clean it with soap and water or a disinfection solution.
The primary concern should be clearing out the bird home of any existing nesting materials.
Even though it’s simple to just grab the nesting material and pull it out, some of it may have stuck to the walls within.
In addition to cleaning wallpaper, a wallpaper scraper can be used to clean hanging or platform bird feeders made of wood.
At this point, you would have to clean the interior walls of the bird home, which means you would come across the cracked shells that need to be removed along with everything else.
Birds can still be present
Unfortunately, some nesting birds may arrive late to a bird house, which may cause some nestlings to stay in the nest box for longer than usual.
Most backyard birds leave their nests around the middle of August, but it may not be safe to assume that their parents have left until early September.
The birdhouse can be utilized in the fall, but only before the end of October, and it will definitely be ready for cleaning by the middle of September.
It’s important to keep in mind that birds may be in a birdhouse well before or after the traditional end of the nesting season.
This means you need to tread carefully as you make your way up to the birdhouse.
Tap the box softly to listen for bird noises; if there are none, the bird house is likely empty.
Do not, under any circumstances, remove a birdhouse from its mounting or open it hastily to take a look inside; doing so is guaranteed to frighten the birds living within.
Fall is the perfect time to clean out your bird house, and you should do this every year as long as you’re providing a safe haven for feathered friends in your backyard.
The birdhouse should be removed from its mounting bracket before being cleaned so that it may be given a thorough washing with soapy water and, if necessary, a homemade disinfectant.
Any debris that has adhered to the inside of the box must be scraped off using a sharp object.
Any lingering nesting material is more likely to discourage potential new nesters in a bird house than to attract them, thus it is important to be thorough while performing maintenance in order to eradicate any bacteria present.
Most birds depart the box by mid-August, but it is not uncommon to see a few hold out into the early fall. This means that cleaning out the box should be put off until the birds leave voluntarily.
Midway through September is when I would recommend cleaning out the bird house, as it is highly unlikely that birds will still be nesting at that point.
To be safe, you should tread softly around the birdhouse to check for inhabitants. You can do this by knocking softly on the birdhouse and keeping an ear out for any chirping or other noises coming from inside.