Nest Boxes – Give a Bird a Home

? It is “Nest Box Week” this week so why not give our little feathered friends a hand, and create a small space for them to hide away from winter’s harsher moments.

Nest boxes provide a little hideaway for birds, but they also create the perfect environment for your garden birds to breed and rear young. Hidden away from predators, you could find yourself with a whole family of birds’ right on your doorstep.

Robin Parker, of Greenhouse designers, Gabriel Ash said:

“No garden is complete without its wildlife. As natural habitats become compromised, it is important for us to remember to give a little back.”

Songbirds readily use nest boxes, and scientific studies show there is a direct correlation between nest boxes, and garden bird populations. However, some birds might need a little extra coaxing – for example a robin is more likely to use a nest box if it is painted green. A dove is more likely to nest in a black nest box. These are factors that could determine the type of bird you attract to your garden.

Another important factor is the orientation of your nest box. A British study has found that tits avoided nest boxes that face south-west, and that fewer flycatcher chicks fledged from south-west facing boxes. In fact, the RSPB have advised that nest boxes should be situated facing either north or east.

Further to this, the material from which you decide to construct your nest box can have an impact on the type of bird that chooses it. For example, studies have shown that tits and sparrows seem to prefer woodcrete (concrete reinforced with wood fibre or sawdust), over those made of wood. Potentially this is because it is warmer than wood, and therefore allows slightly earlier breeding. Warblers tend to prefer empty milk cartons over wooden boxes.

Cleaning out your nest boxes every year can help clear parasites, but old nesting material can provide a good base for any new visitors. Studies tend to point towards clean nesting boxes being favoured by most types of birds.

Finally, studies have shown it is almost pointless to provide nesting materials for your boxes. Our feathered friends won’t thank you – they much prefer to construct a nest to their own specifications!

Good luck – and remember – every hole needs a pigeon!

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