National Nest Box Week 2011

01 Feb 2011 | No. 2011-03

National Nest Box Week, launched by the British Trust for Ornithology, in partnership with Jacobi Jayne, will once again take place from the 14 February – 21 February 2011.

Valentine's Day is the time when birds
begin to pair up for the forthcoming
breeding season

This winter has been the coldest for over thirty years and it will have undoubtedly taken its toll on some of our resident birds. National Nest Box Week 2011 can help provide the nesting space to help them this breeding season.

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is the time when birds begin to pair up for the forthcoming breeding season, so it is a great time to think about putting a nest box up in your garden, or with the owners permission, your local park or nearby woodland.

We know that some of our resident birds suffer during prolonged spells of snow cover and freezing temperatures. Preliminary results from the BTO’s Constant Effort Ringing Scheme show just how much birds were affected during the snow and ice of January 2010. Adult Robins were down by 27% compared to the five-year average, and Wrens were down by 20%. Both of these birds went on to have a good breeding season and productivity, the number of young produced, was up - 22% for Robin and 14% for Wren.

Given a good breeding season it is clear that these birds have the capacity to bounce back, and by providing a nest box we can offer them a helping hand.

Robins will use the open-fronted kind; whilst Wrens are known to use nest boxes to roost in overnight, the record number of Wrens in one box is 63, their shared body heat helping them through the cold night. However, there are lots of other types of nest boxes that can help some of our birds that are most in need. A nest box with a 45mm hole is suitable for Starlings; the population has declined by 79% over the last twenty-five years. House Sparrows will use a nest box but with a 35mm hole, their population has also shown worrying declines.

Whether you have a large garden in the country or a small garden in the middle of town, you will have space for a nest box. There are five things to consider when siting your box.

  1. Make sure it is out of the reach of predators
  2. Site it in a position where it won’t be in direct sunlight for a large part of the day.
  3. Robins like their boxes fairly low down and in the cover of an over-hanging ivy or shrub. Again think predators.
  4. For the hole-type boxes for Starlings and House Sparrows, the higher the better is best, with a clear line of flight to the nest box.
  5. Make sure that wherever you site the box that it is securely fixed.
  6. Take part in National Next Box Week and put a nest box up in your garden.

For more information on nest boxes visit

Notes for Editors

  1. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact information

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
Office: 01842 750050(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2011-03

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