Cleaning out the bird boxes in Jubilee Wood is a job we carry out every winter. Over time nest boxes can become home to parasites such as lice, fleas and mites, so giving them a thorough clean at the end of each breeding season is good practice to ensure the health and safety of the birds nesting there. Removing old nest material also means that the following year’s birds can build their own nest as far as possible from the box entrance hole, thus reducing the risk of predation.
We also use this time to see how many of our boxes have been used and consider moving those boxes which haven’t been used at all since they were put up. Most notable this year was a lot of empty boxes, far more than previous years. There may be many reasons for this however as the Jubilee Wood matures, there are now more opportunities for birds to make their own nests in the trees and this could explain why so many hadn’t been used. We will continue to monitor this situation in conjunction with our annual survey, the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch and bird ringing events.