Putting up nest boxes for birds

Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, putting up nest boxes gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden or green space. Learn about building, buying and siting boxes, and which box suites what species.

Blue Tit. Lightpoet@adobestock
Blue Tit. Lightpoet@adobestock
Young chicks in nest. Mike Mainwairing
Young chicks. Mike Mainwairing 

Why put up a nest box?

Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. Providing nesting sites for breeding birds in your garden gives you the fascinating experience of watching a key part of the lifecycle of birds happening close at hand. Choose from the options below to find the right nest box for the right place.

Which birds use nest boxes?

The list below includes some of the species most likely to take up residence in a nest box within Great Britain. More detailed plans for boxes for several common species are included in

Small nest box with hole

Blue Tit

Coal Tit

Great Tit

House Sparrow

Marsh Tit

Nuthatch

Pied Flycatcher

Redstart

Tree Sparrow

Willow Tit

Open-fronted nest box

Pied Wagtail

Robin

Spotted Flycatcher

Medium nest box with oval-shaped hole

Swift

Large nest box with hole

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Little Owl

Starling

Very big nest box

Barn Owl

Jackdaw

Kestrel

Stock Dove

Tawny Owl

Nest Boxes: Your Complete Guide

If you want to know more, try our in-depth book. Written by Dave Cromack and drawing on the BTO's expertise, this new book provides the perfect guide to building, erecting and monitoring nest boxes for a broad range of bird species.

Find out more and buy today


Related content