Bird Nest Boxes Article
Bird Nest Boxes are excellent substitutes for the holes found in old trees. In young woodlands and plantations, and in many parks and gardens there may be plenty of food for small birds but nowhere for hole-nesting birds to nest.
Over 60 species are known to have used Nest Boxes. Regular residents include blue, great and coal tits, nuthatches, house and tree sparrows, starlings, spotted and pied flycatchers, robins, house martins, kestrels and Tawny Owls. Much depends on the type of the bird Nest box, where the box is located, and on its surroundings.
In recent years, the fortunes of many birds have varied. For example, blue and great tits have prospered, while house sparrows and starlings have declined. If you want to provide a Nest Box for birds, try, if possible, to target those birds that genuinely need help.
Hanging the Bird NEST BOX
This depends on the species the Nest Box is intended for. Nest Boxes for tits, sparrows or starlings should be fixed two to four metres up a tree or a wall.
Unless there are trees or buildings which shade the bird Nest box during the day, face the Nest box between north and east, thus avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds.
Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest Box without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear.
House sparrows and starlings will readily use bird Nest boxes placed high up under the eaves. Since these birds nest in loose colonies, two or three can be sited spaced out on the same side of the house. Keep these away from areas where house martins normally nest.
Open-fronted bird Nest Boxes for robins and wrens need to be low down, below 2m, well hidden in vegetation. Those for spotted flycatchers need to be 2-4m high, sheltered by vegetation but with a clear outlook. Woodpecker boxes need to be 3-5m high on a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance.
Fixing your Nest box with nails may damage the tree. It is better to attach it either with a nylon bolt or with wire around the trunk or branch. Use a piece of hose or section of car tyre around the wire to prevent damage to the tree. Remember that trees grow in girth as well as height, and check the fixing every two or three years.
Two bird nest boxes close together may be occupied by the same species if they are at the edge of adjoining territories and there is plenty of natural food. While this readily happens in the countryside, it is rare in gardens, where you normally can only expect one nesting pair of any one species. The exceptions to this are house and tree sparrows and house martins, which are colonial nesters. By putting up different bird nest boxes, several species can be attracted.
Bird Nest boxes are best put up during the autumn. Many birds will enter nest boxes during the autumn and winter, looking for a suitable place to roost or perhaps to feed. They often use the same nest boxes for nesting the following spring. Tits will not seriously investigate nesting sites until February or March.