Q: We've had a bird using one of our nesting boxes all winter.
That's cool, but everyone says you have to clean out nesting boxes each year, but we're afraid of disturbing the bird.
We don't want to take out the insulating nesting material if the bird is still using it each night.
What should we do?
SHELLEY P., Boise
A: It's important to clean out nesting boxes just prior to the nesting season.
Old nesting material can be contaminated with parasites and cause disease, and you don't want that for new birds.
Marilyn Neal at Wild Birds Unlimited in Boise suggests giving the roosting bird another week or so before going in and cleaning the nesting box out.
Another reason to clean out old nesting material is that, if you don't, birds will normally build at least a partial nest on top of the old one.
This will put them too close to the entrance of the birdhouse and make them easier targets for predators.
For a good cleaning of the bird box, spray it out with a hose and then clean the inside with a scraper. Make other repairs, too, like tightening loose screws and making sure the box is still secure to the tree, pole or side of your house.
WHAT ABOUT CHIEF PARRISH?
Q: Do you know the history of Chief Parrish?
I am originally from Cascade and remember Chief Parrish's house where the picnic site is now on the Main Payette River. I also remember seeing him at a Fourth of July parade in Cascade when I was 7 or 8.
This would have been in the early to mid-70s. Who was Chief Parrish? When did he die? I have tried to google information about him with no success. Do you know anything of him?
Thanks for anything you might be able to find out.
WARREN REED, email
A: I struck out trying to get information on Chief Parrish, too.
I googled the name and got nothing. I'm currently checking with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management staff in Boise to see if there's anyone still around in that agency who remembers details of how the recreation site was established.
I think I remember seeing the old cabin at that site and Chief Parrish. The site is located just off Idaho 55 between Banks and Gardena.
Wow, it was in the '70s. It was way before rafting and floating the Main Payette River became popular.
It's really a neat place to have a picnic, and it's close enough to the river where you don't get that much highway noise. It sure would have been a neat place to live before all the busy whitewater recreation and highway traffic of today. If anyone has any details on Chief Parrish and how the recreation site was established, let me know.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors