Valentine’s Day 2018 will see the start of the 21st annual National Nest Box Week (NNBW), in which people across Britain are encouraged to put up a nest box and provide a family home for our birds.
Mid-February is the time that birds across the country begin to pair up, or get back together for the forthcoming breeding season, and the search to find a safe place in which to build a nest and raise a family begins in earnest.
Over 20 different bird species regularly use nest boxes: from Blue Tits, which use the ‘standard’ small-hole type of nest box, to birds like the Barn Owl that use a much larger nest box with a much larger entrance hole.
To help inform which nest box to use, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has produced a brand new nest box guide. This contains information on the different types of nest box, where to site them, plans for how to make them and guidelines on how you can make your nest box count if and when it is occupied, by monitoring the outcome for science.
Hazel Evans, BTO Nest Box Challenge (NBC) Organiser, said, “It is amazing how much of a difference can be made by the simple act of putting up a nest box. Two of our closest bird neighbours, the House Sparrow and the Starling, have shown dramatic declines in recent years and by putting up a nest box we can help provide the space they need to build a nest, and present an opportunity to collect valuable data. For House Sparrows a nest box with a 32mm entrance hole is what is needed, and for Starlings a slightly larger box with a 45mm entrance hole is ideal.”
No garden is too small for a nest box, in the case of the House Sparrow and the Starling all you need is a little space high up on the wall of the house. For those lucky enough to have more space why not put up two or more boxes?
Even if your nest box isn’t used to raise a family it might still be used as a safe, warm and dry space to roost overnight. So, go on, put up a nest box this National Nest Box Week.
Please visit here for information on the new BTO Nest Box Guide.
For more information on how to monitor your nest box once it is occupied, please visit https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/nbc
A few Do's and Don'ts of Nest Boxes
|Do buy a box made of insulating material such as wood or woodcrete, and of a sufficient thickness (no less than 15mm).||Don't site your box where it will be in full sunlight, this can cause the contents to overheat.|
|Do choose a box which allows easy access to look at
|Don't use a box with a perch. These can allow access to predators such as squirrels.|
|Do get your box up before or during NNBW so it's
ready for prospecting birds.
|Don't place the box close to a bird feeder. Visiting birds could disturb the nesting pair.|
See http://www.bto.org/about-birds/nnbw/buy-a-box for more tips on putting up a nest box.
NNBW would not be possible without the support from Jacobi Jayne & Co., Britain’s nest box specialists.
Notes to editors
1. NNBW is an annual event during which people are encouraged to provide nesting space for birds. NNBW was first launched in 1997 by BTO and Jacobi Jayne. www.bto.org/about-birds/nnbw
2. NBC is an online survey, launched by the BTO in 2007, of garden and nest boxes/sites with the aim of learning more about productivity trends of bird populations in urban areas. The BTO provides instructions on how to monitor and report nests on its website.www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/nbc
3. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.www.bto.org
4. Jacobi Jayne and Co is a conservation products company. The company provides a free nest box information leaflet for participants in the NNBW.