This week is National Nest Box Week and February in general is the month when we should definitely focus our thoughts on nest boxes (if we haven’t already done so this winter!).
Organized by the BTO since 1997, National Nest Box Week takes place every year from 14th – 21st February. The start date of Valentine’s Day was inspired by the traditional belief that birds will have paired up by this date ready for the breeding season, which starts in earnest in March. There is more on story this in the BTO link below.
This week’s storms have not exactly been ideal weather for putting up new nest boxes! However, as most of us will be inspecting our gardens as soon as the strong winds subside, this does present the perfect opportunity to focus on taking another look at our homes to see if we can do more to help provide more safe nesting sites for birds:
💚 Check that your existing bird boxes are still secure and weatherproof.
💚 Can you find a suitable place to put up a bird box if you haven’t got one? This could be on your house or in your garden, depending on which species you want to attract.
💚 Can you add another nest box? If you have a suitable site and enough separation to avoid territorial conflict with other nesting birds, add a box with a different sized hole, or an entirely different size or kind of box to cater for different bird species.
With nature under pressure and ever-diminishing natural habitat for our wildlife to find shelter and breeding sites, a well-designed, well-sited nest box can be a vital des-res for a pair of garden, urban, woodland, or other wild birds according to your home’s surroundings.
❤️ We are all familiar with the classic nest box shape (such as those loved by blue tits or great tits, for example), but have you thought about open-fronted boxes for robins and blackbirds, or artificial nest cups for the now Red-Listed house martin, or a special-shaped boxes for swifts – the swift being yet another recently Red-Listed species? Swift nest boxes can also serve as desirable homes for house sparrows.
❤️ What about considering a couple of bigger nest boxes for starlings? Many of us may not realize it, but this glossily-handsome and sociable species that inspires wonder with its dazzling winter murmurations is also on the UK’s Red List of endangered birds. One reason is that starlings’ natural nesting holes in old trees and traditional homes under the eaves of older buildings are becoming scarcer and scarcer. If you have starlings nesting at home, it’s a cause for celebration! If not, have a look at starling nest boxes.
💛 And what about nest boxes for bees and bats?
Bisham Nest Box Group
We are lucky in having the wonderful, local, not-for-profit Bisham Nest Box Group near Marlow that makes a wide range of nest boxes for birds, bats, bees and hedgehogs at cost price, as well as nest box kits to assemble at home:
The group is happy to provide all sorts of nest box advice. And if putting a box up poses a practical conundrum for you, they can also install them for a very modest extra cost.
Find out more about National Nest Box Week and choosing, siting, maintaining and cleaning nest boxes at:
And a fun article about more unusual things some RSPB experts have found in their nest boxes: