February appears to be happening again, and someone’s even gone and stuck an extra day on the end. It’s all chilly and cloudy, and we keep having to scrape condensation off our windows. It’s not all bad news though! This month sees National Nestbox Week return for another year. Read on for some ideas to make the most of this wonderful event.
What’s it all about?
The event was started in 1997 by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). It runs from the 14th to 21st of February so you can get a nestbox sorted ahead of Spring, which is when many birds are looking to nest and start a family.
It’s worth getting involved because the ‘wrental’ market is getting tougher every year. (The same goes for the sparrowtal, starlingtal and chaffinchtal markets!) Tidier gardens, and buildings with fewer nooks and crannies, are making it tricky for our feathered friends to find places to live.
Adding a nestbox to your garden is a great way to combat this trend, and you’ll get some lovely visitors to watch too. What’s not to love? (Answer: nothing.)
Where to place your nestbox
Birds are like dried fruit: they like being stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. That means you should position your nestbox in a shady area of your garden. A clear flight path is also a must; selling points for properties don’t generally include obstacle courses to get to the front door!
Different types of home will advertise to different types of birdie. Here are some tips for if you’ve got a particular resident in mind.
Round hole nestboxes
Put these 2–4 metres off the ground, ensuring the aforementioned shade and clear flight path. The size of the entrance hole will determine which types of bird you’re most likely to attract.
- 25mm is good for small birds like bluetits.
- 28mm is prime real estate for tree sparrows.
- 32mm is great for house sparrows and woodpeckers.
You can change the size of your box’s hole with one of our stainless steel cover plates.
Open faced boxes
These are good for attracting wrens and robins, which prefer their homes to be lower down; 1–2 metres off the ground is ideal. You’ll still need to ensure a clear flight path, but it’s a good idea to place an open faced box where it will be surrounded by foliage. If said foliage is a bit thorny, even better. A bit of natural protection will help prevent opportunistic cats. (No robbin’ yourself a robin today, Whiskers!)
Click here to browse our great range of bird boxes!
Did you know?
The UK is home to the Eurasian wren, which has the rather amazing scientific name Troglodytes troglodytes!
Provide access to food
Like people, birds enjoy homes with pleasant surrounding areas. A simple way to make your garden attractive is to put out some great grub. Using a bird feeder can be a great shout, but make sure to place it a fair distance from nesting sites. Grey squirrels have been known to attack nesting birds, and they’re also infamous for trying their luck with bird feeders.
Want some tips on different birds’ menu choices? We’ve got you covered with another of our posts. And if you want to be kind to the environment while providing food, check out these fantastic options:
Watching your feathered neighbours
Nesting birds are protected by law, so disturbing them is a no-no. However, that doesn’t mean you only get to imagine what they’re up to while they’re home. Installing a camera before your new friends move in is a fantastic way to see what they’re doing.
Do birds play scrabble or argue over the washing up? There’s no evidence thus far, but if they do start doing those things, a bird box camera will show you what it looks like. And if not, you’ll still see plenty to keep you entertained.
Wondering where to get a high-quality bird box camera? There’s this company called Green Feathers who supply some really good ones. Click here to discover our range and find the best camera to suit your needs. (We’ve also got a brilliant support team if you have any questions about setting up your new window to the wild.)
Find out more and get involved
We hope National Nestbox Week 2024 will be more than just a flight of fancy for you! Head over to https://www.nestboxweek.com/ for even more tips, and be sure to post any pictures you take during (and after!) the event on social media. Remember to tag us, because we really do love to see how you’re enjoying nature.