Unfortunately as our gardens and green spaces become neater and tidier and more newly built properties, with less nooks and crannies and than period ones, are welcomed to areas we are slowly but surely depriving birds of places to nest and shelter from the weather. This has a knock on effect contributing to bird numbers significantly decreasing each year.
The good news is anyone can help to make a difference by installing one or two nest boxes at their homes. These along with a few plants and insects make a welcoming habitat for local bird life, not just common species such as Blue Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrows, Robins and Starlings, but you increase your chances of attracting some rarer species into your garden too! You don't have to have a large outside space to install a nestbox either.
Here in the UK we have 574 different species of bird and as you can imagine they are all different shapes and sizes, which means that not one nest box is suitable for all birds and they all have their own distinct preferences. For all birds however there are a few things which are key, of course shelter and security are the main hallmarks of a proper nestbox.
Wood is an ideal material for nextboxes to be made from, it provides great insulation, ensuring that eggs and chicks don't become too hot in the midday sun or too cold through the night. Don't worry about your nestbox having a perch, these aren't necessary for nesting birds and actually may encourage squirrels and weasels a good support to aid them to reach into the box and grab those precious eggs and chicks! It is a good idea though for your nest box to have a removable or hinged lid, this is so that once the box has been finished with for the year you can clear out any old nesting material for the nestbox to be used again. It is important that you don't choose a nestbox which has been incorporated into a bird table, the nesting birds may find this a threatening location and spend too much time chasing off "threats" rather than caring for their eggs and chicks.
If you are wanting to install a nestbox or two into your garden, well now is the perfect time as birds are starting to hunt for their ideal nesting location. We have a fantastic selection of nestboxes available in store here at Deepdale Garden Centre with prices starting from...
The best place to install a nestbox is somewhere you feel is safe, where there are few risks, is away from predators and sheltered from any bad weather. Unfortunately this isn't always somewhere that you and your family can see, but the most important thing is keeping the birds safe. It is a good idea however to install your nestbox somew
here you can still access for cleaning after the nesting season and in case you wan't to check up on the occupants from time to time. The height of the nestbox isn't too critical but it is suggested they you go no lower than 1 metre above the ground and if you have small inquisitive children a higher location maybe better. If your garden isn't sheltered by trees it's recommended that you face your nextbox in a northerly or easterly direction as this is usually away from prevailing wind or rain.
A few more do's and don'ts!
• Don't place nestboxes too close together as this can encourage aggressive behaviour between nesting birds.
• Angle the front of the nestbox vertically or slightly downwards to prevent rain from entering. Also make sure it’s sheltered from prevailing wind, rain and strong sunlight.
• Avoid sites where foliage obscures the entrance hole.
• Ensure the box is not easily accessible to predators like cats and squirrels.
• Don’t site nestboxes close to bird feeders. High levels of activity by visiting birds could disturb nesting pairs.
• Use rust-free galvanised wire or stainless steel screws to attach the box to the trunk or hang it from a branch. Check fittings regularly to make sure the box remains securely attached.