should old birds nests be removed

A bird (I never saw it, so cant identify) built a nice little nest directly on top of a floodlight I have in my backyard.

I am interested in removing the nest, because it seems abandoned, but I wanted to check with bird experts before I did anything.

If the answer to both is no, I feel ok about taking it down, but if theres a chance a bird can benefit from it, I guess I can leave it up.

When and How Should You Clean Your Birdhouse or Nest Box?

should old birds nests be removed

During the nesting season, after each brood (when fledglings permanently leave the nest), you should remove old nests from birdhouses and nest boxes. At the conclusion of each nesting season, after the final nesting bird pair and their young have left, thoroughly clean the birdhouse or nest box.

  • Verify whether the nest box or birdhouse is empty.
  • Put on gloves and a face mask.
  • Remove the old nest and any nesting material.
  • To remove feces and other debris from the surfaces, use a stiff brush.
  • To clean all surfaces, use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts warm water, or use unscented dish soap and warm water.
  • Thoroughly rinse all surfaces with clean water.
  • To make sure that no mold or mildew grows, leave the birdhouse outside in the sun to dry for a few hours.

When and How Should You Remove an Old Nest from a Birdhouse or Nest Box?

should old birds nests be removed

First, it’s important to make sure that the nest is no longer in use before cleaning it out. (And since it’s illegal to move or destroy a bird’s nest in most instances, this is an important step.) The best time to clean out an old nest from a birdhouse or next box is after the young birds have fledged the nest. How do you determine that it’s the right time?

First, spend a few days observing the birdhouse or nest box. If there’s no movement (birds circling to replenish nest supplies, feed their young, etc.), ), then it’s most likely that the nest has been abandoned or is no longer in use.

Carefully open the birdhouse or nest box’s top before continuing, or take a quick look through the entrance hole. If you come across a nest that has whole eggs and/or hatchlings, it is probably still being used, and the adult birds will probably go back to it. For the next few days, keep an eye out for activity at the nest; chances are the adult birds will return to tend to their young. Do not try to tend to any hatchlings or live eggs in the nest if there is no activity at this time. Instead, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

You can take action to remove a nest yourself once you’ve established that it has been abandoned.

Since the nest appears to be abandoned, I’m interested in taking it down, but before I take any action, I wanted to consult with bird experts.

I feel comfortable taking it down if neither of the two answers apply, but I suppose I could leave it up if there’s a chance a bird could use it.

In my backyard, a bird (whose identity I cannot ascertain) constructed a charming little nest right atop one of my floodlights.

FAQ

What to do with old bird nests?

Carefully inspect the nest to make sure it is empty of eggs and birds. Spray the nest with an antibacterial spray. Once dry, remove the nest and dispose of it in a securely sealed container or exterior trash bag. Dispose of it in the trash away from the home.

Will birds move into an old nest?

Most birds use the nests only once and will start fresh in the spring with a new nest. However, if you’re eager to pull that empty nest off your porch light, just be mindful of a minor exception to the “one-and-done” rule.

Should you ever move a birds nest?

We don’t recommend that you move the nest; Birds will often abandon their nest if it is moved. Only in extreme circumstances should you consider relocating a nest, and if you do, it must be replaced very close, within a few feet of the original location. Once relocated, watch and make sure the parents are returning.

Should you leave a bird nest alone?

Quite often, it is hard to observe a nest from all 360 degrees, but if the little bird seems content and you see adult birds in the area, assume the bird is being cared for. Leave it alone. Again, a baby’s best chance for survival is with its parents.