Convert a nest box into a winter roost

Convert a nest box into a winter roost

Find out how to convert a nest box into a cosy winter roost for birds.

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To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Most old bird nests contain fleas and other parasites, which remain in the nest until the following spring, when they can infest the next batch of baby birds.

It’s therefore important to remove old nests and clean out nest boxes in autumn, after the birds have vacated them. It’s also a good idea to convert the box into a winter roost, giving birds a cosy refuge on cold nights.

More advice on caring for birds:

Here’s how to do it.

It's therefore important to remove old nests and clean out boxes in autumn, after the birds have vacated them.
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You Will Need

  • Bird box
  • Material for insulation, such as dry wool, hay or wood shavings
  • Dustpan brush
  • Boiling water
  • Cloth and veterinary cloth (optional)

Step 1

Remove the nest from the box, including any unhatched eggs, and discard. It’s only legal to do this between August and January.

Removing the old material from the nest box
Removing the old material from the nest box

Step 2

Use a dustpan brush to thoroughly clean out of the box, paying particular attention to the corners and sides.

Brushing out the nest box
Brushing out the nest box

Step 3

Wash with hot water to kill any parasites. You could use veterinary disinfectant. Do not use insecticides or flea powders.

Disinfecting the nest box
Disinfecting the nest box

Step 4

Allow the box to dry out completely before adding cosy roosting material. Here, we’ve used sheep-wool insulation.

Adding insulation material
Adding insulation material
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Feeding birds in winter

It’s a good idea to feed birds all year round, but this is especially important in winter. Read our advice on feeding garden birds in winter.

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