Your Guide For Nest Boxes In The Garden
Here we are in February already, hoping that the depths of Winter are behind us and we can start looking forward to Spring and those slightly lighter evenings.
Many of our customers enjoy feeding their garden visitors throughout the year and some may have got involved in the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch in January. Since lockdown began we might have found ourselves spending a lot more time in the garden. Perhaps even being a little jealous of the freedom the wildlife has over us!
Nevertheless, in February we celebrate National Nest box Week. This is aimed at putting the spotlight on breeding birds and encouraging everyone to put up more nest boxes in their local area.
Why do nest boxes matter?
Just like us humans, and not to be too political, there is a housing shortage. The population of many bird species have dropped as a result of this.
Which birds use nest boxes?
When it comes to nest boxes, it depends on the type of birds that frequent your garden or the ones you would like to attract. Nest boxes with smaller entrance holes will attract birds like blue tits, nuthatches, and sparrows. Whereas open-fronted boxes are perfect for robins & wrens. If you would like to house starlings, jackdaws, or even owls in and around your garden you will require a nest box with a larger entrance hole.
What makes a good nest box?
Nest boxes come in a variety of materials and designs. But generally speaking look for sturdy construction and natural materials like wood or fibre. Both of these provide great insulation, ensuring the inhabitants and their eggs don’t become too hot or too cold. Please remember that any wood that is exposed to the elements needs to be protected. With a water-based, non-toxic paint.
When’s the best time to put up a box?
Now, hence why Nest box Week is in February. This is just before the new breeding season starts, however, saying that you may find some juvenile birds looking for suitable nesting spots during their first Autumn/Winter. Any nesting boxes that are in place later in the year can still be used and you may find some birds taking shelter during the cold winter months.
Where to place your nest boxes?
Keep them sheltered from the weather, you don’t want them getting the brunt of a weather front. If possible a North-East facing position is generally recommended. Make sure they are out of sight to any potential predators as well as high enough off the ground so as not to be an easy target. If you have multiple boxes try to space them out. As you don’t want to encourage any aggressive behaviour between your new visitors.
Looking after your nest boxes?
September to January is when you should be looking at cleaning out your nest boxes and getting them ready for the next breeding season. Hopefully, this won’t take you 4 months to complete and bear in mind that those juvenile birds may be looking for a home come to Autumn/Winter so best to try and get it done in September if you can.
We do hope this has been of some use to you. If you do shop with us you will be happy to know that during February we are offering 25% off nest boxes to all our petplace plus+ customers.
As always if you have any questions regarding Wild Birds, Nestbox Week or your garden wildlife. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team. You can pop into the store or get in touch via any of our social channels or via our website.