Next week (February 14th– 21st) is National Nest Box Week. As the number of natural nesting sites in hedges, trees and old buildings has declined, providing artificial nesting sites is very important.

I have been out in the garden looking at the various sites that we have for nesting birds. Being in a farming area we have a lot of hawthorn hedges around the garden which are excellent for nest sites, giving some degree of protection to the birds. We also have some beech hedging but this isn’t really dense enough for nests and we don’t find many nests in these sites. Shrubby areas and our tall trees are all well used by our birds.

However, we also have about 10 birdboxes scattered around the garden, usually over 1 metre above ground and facing N. E to protect young birds from strong winds and direct sunlight. Many garden birds will readily use the boxes, particularly the Tit family. Robins and Blackbirds are a little more independent and try to find more natural homes – in 2012 a Robin decided to make a home in our stack of pots!

lodgerWe also have a ‘camera’ bird box which was used for a family of Great Tits last year. We are hoping for more this year. In February our birds will be finding and setting up home, and there is a nest box to suit most of our feathered friends.

If you want some hints and information and guidance about making and monitoring bird boxes I recommend looking up the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and the RSPB sites.