MAINTENANCE OF BIRDHOUSES AND NEST BOXES
The birds left the birdhouse, what now? Common sense maintenance on your birdhouse / nest box before the next tenants move in
Most birdhouses and nest boxes are made out of wood, and depending on the kind of wood, they may need a bit of maintenance. If they consist of pinewood you would want to paint or treat them every 2 - 3 years so they can actually last as many as several decades. Make sure you sand them before applying a new coat. I would personally apply 3 coatings the first time, and 1 or 2 the next time. If you purchased a birdhouse, I would still treat it with outdoors polyurethane as most of the commercial products are poorly treated for outside weather conditions. Even your coloured ornamental birdhouses would benefit from a few extra coats of polyurethane.
Each time the tenants have left you need to take out the nest material so that the parasites disappear, while it is a good idea to shrub them out with kitchen soap and a bit of Clorox to kill parasites. Then place a tiny bit of fresh material as a starter for new tenants. Also check if the structure needs maintenance, by checking the joints and the hinges and lock of the cleaning door or top of the birdhouse or nest box. Clean the drainage holes in the bottom. All common sense things for any landlord who does not want to be sued by the next tenants.
If you live in an area with lots of Starlings, English Sparrows and / or Common Mynas (Australia), you may want to watch closely that they don't inhabit the nest as they are rather aggressive birds and there are far more fun birds you would like to have in your garden. If they occupy your birdhouse, just through out their nest until they give up, but keep checking, they can be very persistent! If you like to get Kestrels in your Kestrel house, you are bound to have great interest from Jackdaws and Magpies. One year we had to protect a pair of kestrels from invasion by shooting little paper darts at the Jackdaws several times per day until the kestrels took effectively control of the house. For some reason, the darts did not bother the Kestrels while the Jackdaws were immediately frightened by them so the Kestrels Kestrels could take possession of the house.
As you can see, maintenance does not take more than a few minutes per year per birdhouse and can greatly increase the lifetime of your nest box, and is very important for the well-being of your little flying tenants.
Backyard birds and you
Millions of people like having birds in their gardens as part of the beauty, fun and entertainment in the immediate surroundings of their houses, and right they are! No matter if you have just started living in your own place, have your own nest full of little or taller chicks, are enjoying your home by yourself or are an empty nester, birds are a the crown jewels of your garden, a constant source of entertainment, giving you fun and exiting moments every day of your life. Did you know that in the US as more than 60 million people do something to attract birds to their gardens or houses? No doubt you are one of those people and thereby you are a birdwatcher! You may never have thought of yourself being one, but hey, you put up a birdhouse or birdfeeder to watch birds come to your garden and house. So......, you are a birdwatcher!
With our huge website giving lots of technical information, I thought I really should pay more attention to the millions of people who don't keep up a birdlist, who don't spend their weekends trotting through the woods. If you like looking out of your window and see birds on a birdfeeder, enjoy little birds busy around feeding their young, then this section of the website is for you. If you go to school, then I like you to feel that this part of the website is specially for you.
I just started this section and it will take a while until all the pages have been written with good information. I still need to get good pictures of birdhouses, birdfeeders, designs and ideas. There are many website selling birdhouses and feeders, and quite frankly I am appalled by the prices of the products on most sites. So over time, I hope to help you discover affordable ways of making your own birdhouses and bird feeders. At first you will find some links to sites, that I consider worth reading and consulting, but over time, most of the information will be from myself. But I can't do it alone. I need your help to help the millions of bird friends to help our feathered friends. Therefore, I would really appreciate if you could send me pictures and suggestions and comments on birdhouses and birdfeeders.. Not to do me a favour, but to share your pictures with others and help them with your ideas and pictures to get the joy of having those marvelous joyous feathered friends around their houses. Sometimes it takes a while, but so far I have always answered emails sent to this website email address at the bottom of this page. I hope you send me your ideas and pictures so it can show them on this website. As you can see, this is not a commercial website, and your pictures would be enjoyed by countless other bird friends, as we enjoy as many as 1 000 000 visitors per year and the numbers are growing at a rate of more than 30% per year!
For bird friends in the USA, there is a great web project to help follow or monitor how breeding birds are doing: http://watch.birds.cornell.edu/nest/home/index . Anybody is welcome to participate in the project and share with scientists how the birds in your birdhouse have been faring. In turn you receive information on breeding success from others.
This website is about birds, nature, conservation and the passion for nature. Let me tell you a bit about myself.
On this website, you can find the bird checklists of all countries of the world: Just go to http://www.birdlist.org/site/regions.htm. In many of them you can find the bird names in its native language as well. But there is much more. There are pictures of nature, great tools for conservation, information on national parks and other nature reserves, an on-line book on ecology and nature conservation, free software for downloading, technical reports for those who want it. In order to find your way through the 2000 interlinked web pages on nature and conservation, please go to the site map. On this page we help you find the way to the worldwide list of birds and the bird names in other languages.