Love your birds? ...give them a nest box on Valentine's Day

No.:  2010-01-03
January 2010

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and people all over the world are being encouraged to look at ways to safeguard the variety of plants and animals on their doorstep. So why not take part in this year's National Nest Box Week and lend a hand to nesting birds in your garden or local green space? National Nest Box Week, which is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and founding sponsor Jacobi Jayne & Company, runs from 14th to 21st February and is this year being promoted by Simon King.

Simon King

Simon King

Simon King is delighted to be associated with National Nest Box Week, which combines his interest in conservation with the ‘get involved’ message: “If you’ve never built a nest box before, why not give it a go this year? Or, if you haven’t got the time, it’s easy to buy a good one. Go on, take part for Britain’s birds.”

To support National Nest Box Week, Simon King has worked with BTO scientists and Jacobi Jayne to produce an information booklet, which tells you how to make a warm, dry home for the birds that share your garden and lifts the lid on what happens inside your box between March and June. For a Pdf please contact Jacobi Jayne & Co, Freepost 1155, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7BR or call Freephone 0800 0720130.

A Valentine’s Day Gift that can last for decades –
Roses may wilt and chocolates are soon gone but a home-made nest box could be home to 150 chicks over the next twenty years. Nest boxes are incredibly easy to build or buy and can make a huge difference to the lives of our garden birds. Blue Tits love them but you could get all manner of species moving in”, says Jeff Baker, the BTO’s organiser of National Nest Box Week.

Ten tips to celebrate National Nest Box Week and the International Year of Biodiveristy

Viv Greenough , the BTO’s nesting expert, hopes that this is going to be a good summer. Here are her ten tips to help breeding birds:

  1. Put up a nest box during National Nest Box Week.
  2. If you already have a box for Blue Tits, then why not make or buy an open-fronted box for a pair of Spotted Flycatchers or Robins?
  3. Providing high-energy foods (such as peanuts and fat balls) at feeding stations can help adult birds boost their breeding performance.
  4. Change your bird bath water regularly so that birds can keep their feathers in prime condition.
  5. Avoid using garden chemicals as chicks and juvenile birds feed mostly on insects and caterpillars.
  6. Think natural – plant a variety of native species to enhance and promote biodiversity, an insect-rich garden will also benefit birds.
  7. Grow climbers against walls and fences to provide shelter, roosting and nesting sites for birds.
  8. Think about birds that don’t use boxes (such as Blackbird and Dunnock) – keep your shrubs and hedges thick and avoid hedge-trimming and pruning from March to August, inclusive.
  9. Dead wood is great for biodiversity (especially insects); dying shrubs and plants are best left to decompose naturally.
  10. Help the BTO find out more about our breeding birds by monitoring your nest box for Nest Box Challenge (

Notes for Editors

  1. More than 60 species of birds have been recorded using nest boxes. Most commonly, Blue and Great Tits, House Sparrows and Starlings will use the typical round hole design, while Robins and Spotted Flycatchers prefer open-fronted boxes. House Sparrows, Starlings and Spotted Flycatchers are all red-listed species of conservation concern.
  2. The official website of National Nest Box Week is there is more information on the BTO website
  3. Nest Box Challenge (NBC) is a free online survey which was launched in 2007 with the aim of learning more about productivity trends of bird populations in urban areas. Participants of NBC are asked to monitor the breeding attempts of birds that use nest boxes in their gardens. Nest boxes are monitored by recording the contents of the nest box on regular intervals during the breeding season.
  4. Care needs to be taken when looking inside nest boxes. Please see guidance notes on the BTO website.
  5. 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: 07845 900559 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Jeff Baker (BTO’s Organiser of National Nest Box Week)
Office: 01842 750050
Email: press [at] (during office hours)

Viv Greenough (Nest Records Officer)
Office: 01842 750050
Email: nest.records [at] (during office hours)

Images are available for use alongside this News Release
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2010-01-03

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