I know I've left it a bit late, but yesterday I cleaned out my nestbox with a camera in it so that we may get some good views of nesting birds again this year. I had originally intended to clean it at the end of August last year, but as it requires step ladders putting in a neighbour's garden and a climb up on a flat roof, I just didn't get round to doing it before the winter set in.
Anyway, spurred on by the fact that it's already been inspected once by a Blue Tit (which hasn't returned for over a week now), I decided to get up there and quickly give it a spring clean. Fortunately I didn't need to take the whole box down, as unscrewing the two front sections gave me good access to remove the previous nest and disinfect the box. As the camera looks vertically down on the nest, it was quite good to see the nest from a different angle and work out where the birds had been in the box.
The nest itself was mainly compacted moss and feathers and had a little indentation in one corner where the eggs had been laid and incubated. There were no signs of any eggshells or remains of chicks that had died, and so the birds had done a good job at removing all the unwanted debris from inside the box.
The floor of the box was very pitted from all the pecking that had been going on in the days before the birds decided to use it for nesting. They really had removed quite a lot of wood and my guess is that they were testing it for strength, but it might have been part of their mating display.
After a quick spray of disinfectant and a wipe out with some kitchen roll, I left the box open for a while to dry out and take in the fresh air. I also tried to adjust the camera position a little to get a more even view, but it was very difficult to see what I was doing with the TV being downstairs in the kitchen!
After refixing the front sections, I gave the outside a wipe and brush down to remove a few cobwebs that had been attached to the roof and eaves for most of the winter, and that was that - all ready for the new tenants. Last year they started nest-building in March with the eggs being laid in April. So fingers crossed, we'll get something similar this year. Keep watching for the live nestcam to appear here on my blog.