Between August and January each year The Wildlife Countryside Act allows you to legally clear out your nest box to reduce the risk of disturbing brooding birds. The recommendation is leaving this a little longer in case of a late brood. Below is the advice on the do's and dont's of clearing out your nest boxes.

1.) Some species have more than one brood in a year, so be aware that even though it seems like all fledglings have left the box, there may be another clutch of eggs waiting to hatch. It is recommended leaving the nest for another 3-4 weeks to be sure
2.) From the beginning of Autumn you can begin to clear out old nesting material, egg shells and dead chicks
3.) It is important that you leave any un-hatched eggs until September through to January, once removed these must be destroyed Ė it is illegal to keep un-hatched wild bird eggs
4.) Once all material has been safely removed and destroyed, thoroughly wash the box in boiling water or a safe disinfectant and use a Stainless Steel Scraper to ensure you get all muck and grim inside and out. This will reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases and parasitic organisms
5.) Be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial hand wash after as your safety is paramount
6.) If you donít get a chance to clear out your nest boxes in autumn, then it is suggested the next best time is during January
7.) Enjoy watching birds use your nest boxes year after year!