Everyone loves seeing birds in their garden, and many people put up bird boxes to encourage them to nest. But there are good bird boxes and bad bird boxes. Here is a quick guide to selecting and positioning a birdbox for your garden. Some birds won’t nest in boxes until they have been in position for a couple of months, so now is the time to get them up!
Firstly, the materials are important. Never use creosoted or treated timber, as this can harm the birds. Untreated timber is best – larch (like this one) or oak (like the one above) are ideal. Pick a sturdy box with thick timber, tight joints and an overlapping roof, as these will last longer.
Each bird has its own preferences. Boxes like these are perfect as they actually contain the hole in a tree that the bird is naturally looking for. Holes need to be different sizes for different species – 32mm for great tits and nuthatches; 25mm for blue tits.
Some birds such as owls have their nests very high to avoid predators (this barn owl box is in a tall ash tree). Smaller birds rely on small entrance holes to protect their young families, while robins like to nest in more open boxes in thick vegetation. Cats, rats, squirrels and magpies are clever and determined predators – make sure your boxes are secure.
Information on the best size and position for nestboxes can be found on the RSPB website. The wood and timber boxes featured in this post are made by a local naturalist from fallen trees. Contact us for more information – prices start from around £25 and each box is unique.