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Monday, March 24, 2008

Bird houses - Help needed Quick!

Quick question for all you birders out there. I have a number of beautiful birdhouses in the garden. Just now I saw several birds flitting around this lovely house my friend Tony built.

You can see that last year's residents were quite busy, they stuffed the house to the point where it split at the seams.

Should I climb up there today and clean it out? Is it too late? If birds already started nesting in there will they return after I clean it and shut the side door tight?

So many questions, hoping for some quick answers!


Eleanor said...

I live in Pretoria, South Africa and am a keen gardener and garden birder! I have had crested barbets (an indigenous bird) breeding several times in the nesting logs in my garden. I have moved nesting logs from one position to another but never attempted to 'clean' or fix one. I have had over 20 different kinds of birds in my garden. I have fruit and seed tables and it is a constant delight to watch 'my' birds. My latest project is to install an owl box and see if I can attract owls, which are an endangered species here. Happy gardening! Eleanor at

carla said...

Melanie I think LOEWS shod sponsor the next garden project your garden club dose in Huntington
for all the free advertising you do on your blog.
Love Mom

Dave said...

I would say you should check and see if they have nested, if they have leave it be. If they haven't clean it out so it will close again. Birds don't like drafty accommodations. Normal cleaning isn't necessary. Just do enough to make it a dry and pleasant home for the birds!

Frances, said...

Is the side pulled away? Maybe you could wrap some copper wire around the whole thing to hold it together until the fall when a good repair job can be done. We do sometimes clean out the houses, but not always. The birds don't seem to care. The wren in my shed rebuilt after the shed had been locked for over a week and the nest cleaned out. She just waited until the door was opened and started back building. Good luck.
Frances at Faire Garden

Cinj said...

I've never had to clean out a birdhouse before, but I agree with Dave. Check it out and see if there's any new activity in there. If not I'd clean out enough to be able to close the door. Good luck!

Kathleen said...

Lucky you, having birds that want to nest already! It's still too cold here for that. I agree with Dave, if they've already nested leave it be. Otherwise, I've always been told to clean out nest debris every year as it could contain parasites. It's also pretty dirty with feces from the babies (at least the ones I have are that way)?? I'm not an expert tho so just passing on info I've been told.

Brenda Kula said...

Melanie, I didn't have your email. But I just tagged you. Go on over to my blog and you'll get the drift.

Melanie said...

Thanks for all the great comments here! I was very lucky to get an E-mail from Tony of Hazel Green Alabama, the man who made the birdhouse for me.

Tony advised me to clean it immediately which I promptly did. I was able to see that the side was supposed to open like that for easy cleaning. It had just lost it's little nail that latched it shut so I added one back in place.

As for the birds? Not an hour later I was walking by and a little head popped out. Not a bluebird, it was a nuthatch.

Melanie said...

Mom, you're right, if they build that Lowes near us I'm going to tell them to sponser our gardens in Huntington :-)

Anna said...

I was thinking Duct tape was invented for this very purpose--you can probably get some at Lowes! I really had to laugh at such big nest builders---it's like some people...we got too much stuff.

Anonymous said...

i don't know, but it seems to me that the birds will rearrange the stuffing if they need to.

i must go put out some birdhouses too now.