Building a bird box
Nest boxes in gardens are often occupied by blue tits or great tits
Try to get your nest boxes in position as early as possible, preferably at the beginning of January. Our blue tits started making exploratory visits in mid February. Each year on St. Valentine's Day - 14th February - the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) launches its National Nest Box Week, with the aim of encouraging people to put up nest boxes to help breeding birds and other wildlife.
The plan layout for a typical nest box is shown below. Many decorative bird boxes are totally unsuitable for parent birds and their families. Bird boxes designed as an integral part of a bird table are unlikely to be occupied. It would be like living above a fast food take-away! Choose a quiet and undisturbed part of your garden for the completed box.
Please check that any plywood you use for your bird boxes comes from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) sources. FSC certified tropical hardwood plywood ensures that the use of the material will not damage forests, harm wildlife or jeopardise the future of people whose lives depend on the forests. An easiliy available source would be B&Q as B&Q (UK) announced that from September 2009 it would only buy Forest Stewardship Council timber and that the FSC label would be on the timber product.
To print this plan (when using Internet Explorer as your browser), simply hover your mouse over the drawing below, right click on the image and choose 'Print Picture...'
Hang the box at least two metres off the ground, preferably between north and east to avoid strong sunlight. If fixing the nestbox to a tree it's preferable to use thick wire on the hangers rather than fixing with nails. If you find the birds pecking at the entrance hole, it does not mean that the hole is too small. Click here for an explanation. Do not inspect the nest box when in use, as the parents may desert the eggs or chicks. The completed nest box, minus roof but with its hanging supports, can be seen here. Young bird chicks need live food. Mealworms can be a true life saver if the spring is cold and wet.
| The completed nest box,
almost ready for hanging and occupation |
If this bird box is not up market enough for your feathered
Click on the pictures for an enlarged view
Photographs by John Kelly - used with permission