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Photo © Al Tuttle

What do I do with the nest after the birds have fledged?

During the breeding season, we recommend leaving the nesting material in the box—the parents may decide to raise another brood. At the end of the season, you can remove the nesting material and scrub the inside with a mild detergent and water. If your nest is soiled with fecal matter, we recommend removing the nest and cleaning the nest box out with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Some monitors opt to clean the box out after every brood, but it’s imperative that this is done when there is absolutely no sign of breeding activity in the box; if you’re ever unsure whether the box is being actively used, it’s best to wait until another day to clean it out.

You can leave your box up over the winter and allow it to be used as a roosting place for birds, mice, or squirrels. Some monitors elect to seal off their birdhouses to prevent unwanted winter tenants. Others render the boxes unusable by propping the door open.

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Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology