Last chance to put up nest boxes before the breeding season starts. The RSPB is making a final call for anyone on the Isle of Wight who hasn’t got their nest boxes up yet to do it this week, as it’s the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) National Nest Box Week (14th – 21st February).
The breeding season will get underway in early March, and while some birds may have already chosen their nest sites, there are still some who have yet to decide where they’ll raise their family over the spring and summer months.
Kate Standing, from RSPB South East, said: “If you’ve got nest boxes gathering dust in your shed, or have thought about making or buying one, then now’s the time to do something about it.
“Ideally nest boxes should go up in autumn for winter shelter followed by breeding, but you may just be lucky if you don’t delay. It may be cold outside but if you can do one thing outdoors this weekend, make it that.”
Nest boxes are excellent substitutes for holes in old trees. Just like we put out supplementary food in gardens to help our birds we can also create extra homes for them.
National Nest Box Week has been running for ten consecutive years and is organised by the BTO, whose work primarily involves studying the populations of Britain’s garden and common birds. The week aims to encourage the public to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to help the conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.
Tits will not seriously start to investigate nesting sites until February or March and spotted flycatchers won’t be arriving in the UK until April or May. Some birds have multiple broods and robins and wrens may use a nest box that has recently been put up for later broods.
Over 60 bird species are known to have used nest boxes, but the most regular residents who are most likely to move in are blue tits and nuthatches, as well as house sparrows and starlings, which are both declining.
The species that use your nest box will depend on the type of box, where it is located and its surroundings.
Boxes for blue tits, sparrows or starlings should be fixed two to four metres up a tree, wall or the side of your house. Face the box between north and east away from strong sunlight and the wettest winds. These birds need clear flight paths without clutter in front of the entrance.
House sparrows and starlings will readily use next boxes placed high under eaves and two or three can be spaced out on the same side of the house.
Swifts nest on buildings and virtually nowhere else so they really need our help with nest sites. Position special swift boxes under the eaves of your house, away from any windows and out of the direct sun, wind and rain. The birds will start to arrive from their wintering grounds in Africa in May.
Robins and wrens need open fronted boxes placed low down, well hidden in vegetation.
Woodpecker boxes need to be three to five metres high on a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance.
Until 21st February 2012, the RSPB is offering 10% off nest boxes*. For details, visit our online shop (www.rspbshop.co.uk), call our order line on 0845 1 200 501 or visit one of our retail shops. *Terms and conditions apply.
To find out more about gardening for wildlife visit www.rspb.org.uk/hfw.
To find out more about the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) visit www.bto.org/nnbw/index.htm
BTO’s National Nest Box Week aims to:
encourage everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife. The natural nest sites on which many of our bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired.
Since National Nest Box Week was launched in 1997, thousands of enthusiastic naturalists across the UK have put up boxes to compensate for this loss. It is estimated that there are now 5-6 million boxes in gardens across the UK.
This article has been read 1243 times!