Love birds? National Nest Box week starts on Valentine’s Day, 14 Feb and runs through Feb 21.
Show your garden birds some love by putting up a new nest box in any outdoor space you have!
Attracting birds to your green space is an easy way to connect with nature. Get outdoors, close your eyes for just a moment and listen for birdsong. Being attuned to what birds are doing can give meaning and rhythm to our own lives.
In February birds begin to pair up and look for nesting spots for the breeding season. Watch for nesting activities like birds carrying twigs, moss or feathers in their beaks. Listen out for male birds singing to establish their territory.
Reserve Warden Suzi Lanaway said: “As natural nesting places disappear birds rely on nest boxes in gardens. With birds searching for nesting sites mid-February it’s a good time to get a nest box up to support nesting birds.”
Wardens at WWT Arundel check all our nest boxes in February, replacing damaged nest boxes and moving unused ones to new spots. Many boxes are used as roosting spots for birds and hidey holes for small mammals over the winter months.
Our WWT gift shop at Arundel Wetland Centre has a wide selection of woven, ceramic and wooden boxes this year to suit all types of birds. It’s possible to get a beginners box made from pine for under £10 or you can go high end with a cedar nest box. Cedar timber ages naturally and attractively and gives excellent insulation and strength. Invest in a metal protecting plate to surround the entrance to your nest box. This will stop squirrels and other predators from enlarging the hole to get inside the nest. If you are handy with a hammer it’s easy to build your own nest box with loads of ideas available online.
New in our WWT shop this year we are selling bird box cameras and bird boxes with built in wildlife cameras kit by Green Feathers. These are an easy way to watch nesting birds in your garden live on your PC, smartphone or tablet. There are wired and solar battery versions available. See them online here.
Bird box wildlife cameras by Green Feathers are now in our WWT shop
Pick a nest box with an entry hole that is right the types of birds that are in your area. A 26mm hole is suitable for blue, marsh and coal tits, and possibly wrens but all other species will be excluded by the smaller entrance. A 32mm entry hole is suitable for great, marsh & coal tits, nuthatch, pied flycatcher, house sparrow and tree sparrows. Robins, blackbirds, pied wagtails, and song thrush and grey wagtails use an open front box. Tuck it behind some greenery if you want to attract a wren.
Not sure who is who among garden birds? Our family friendly, free garden bird spotter sheet may help, download it here.
Use galvanised wire to attach a nest box to a tree, aim for 1-3 metres from the ground. No trees? The side of a shed or wall will do but use screws that won’t rust away.
If you already have nest boxes now is the time for maintenance. If you are not sure if birds are currently using your nest box it is best to leave it alone. It is illegal to damage the nest of any wild bird while in use or being built. The eggs of all wild birds are also protected.
If the box appears empty repair any damage or replace it if it is broken. If you haven’t cleaned it out last autumn most enclosed nest boxes open easily with a wire or clip that holds the roof or front closed. Empty old nest material out the bird box and clean it with boiling water to kill parasites. When the box is totally dry, close and rehang it.
Are you finding your nest boxes are not being used year to year? Try moving them to a new location. Ensure the nest box slants down to keep out rain and is sheltered from prevailing wind and strong sunlight. Also don’t put up a bird box too close to your bird feeders – all the feeder activity will prevent birds from using it. For this same reason don’t put nest boxes for different species close together.
Don’t put up a bird box too close to your bird feeders
In spring extra nutrition is a bonus to birds while the burn up energy nest building and egg laying. Show garden birds how much you care by installing feeders in your outdoor space. Or for something different try our "Feed the Birds - Garden Decor" workshop to make garlands, wreaths and cookie cutter bird feeders to decorate your garden, while helping to feed your feathered friends. More information on this March 2nd workshop for £10 per person available here.
If you can't make into the centre to get a new nest box visit our online store.