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PMcS 2006


Putting up nest boxes

Go to the main birds page.

In gardens there is generally a shortage of nest sites for many bird species.  Tits, robins, starlings, tawny owls, tree creepers, spotted fly catchers can all be encouraged to nest in your garden if they are provided with the right types of boxes.  Some birds, such as house sparrows and house martins, actually need the nest box(es) to be mounted on a building, often a house.  If you wish you can also provide boxes that will attract bats and bees.  Boxes should go up in sheltered positions, away from predators at the beginning of the year.  If you miss this opportunity, it is still worth putting up boxes anyway as they can provide excellent roosting sites for birds throughout the year.

Blue tit feeding young

The birds listed above require different holes sizes and shapes, and some require boxes of different sizes.  The BTO has a great resource to help you build a standard nest box.

House martins and swifts require special types of boxes and if you are happy to accommodate them can provide lots of interest.  These can be purchased from specialist suppliers.

Of course you can buy most of these if you search the web or visit good pet shops.  Some super-markets sell nest boxes too - make sure that you buy one with the FSA symbol if you can and one that will stand up to living outside.  Don't be tempted to get a nest box built into a bird table.

The RSPB recommends the following:

'Put your box in a quiet place out of the reach of cats, generally between two and five metres up a tree, fence or wall. Try to face it between north and east, as this avoids strong sunlight and the wettest winds. Tilt the box forward slightly so that driving rain hits the roof and does not enter the box. Put different types of box in different places around the garden. For instance, put open-fronted nestboxes low down and hide them well in vegetation to attract robins and wrens.

It is important to clean out your nestboxes during the winter every year. This will prevent a build up of debris and remove parasites such as fleas. If you put in a handful of clean hay or wood shavings, birds may use it as a winter roost.'

If you have a bit of extra cash, splashing out on a nest box with an built-in  camera is an excellent way to enjoy the breeding season close up and from your own couch!

Whatever you decide do try to provide a helping hand to our breeding birds.



All images and text are copyright PMcS 2011