It is time to get ready for new tenants to set up for the season. If you have not cleaned out your bird houses from last year, do that first. Even though the material may be dry it can contain mites, insects, feces and general dirt. Scrub with soap and water and add a bit of bleach, about 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely, preferably exposed to the sun for a couple of hours. Perform any minor repairs necessary and if there are no smaller holes, consider drilling a few on the sides near the top for ventilation and a couple in the base for drainage. If there is no perch you will decrease the possibility of House Sparrows claiming ownership or predators grabbing on.
The entrance hole diameter is important to discourage Starlings but permit access for Tree Swallows, Bluebirds, Chickadees, House Wrens and others. From 1 1/8 to 1 ½” is appropriate but you can check online for details about commonly sought species. If squirrels have attempted to enlarge the hole, cut a block larger than the hole diameter, drill a new hole to the original dimension and screw it on. Then you can welcome your new feathered guests.
Happy Spring Birding!
By Brian Morin
Publisher of Ontario Birding News