What could be more rewarding than putting up a nest box to encourage our feathered friends to live happily next door to you?
It really it easy, just follow these simple steps!
1. First, get yourself a bird box kit and lay out all your the pieces. There are usually instructions with it, so get your helper to make sure you have all the right bits, screws etc...You will also need a hammer, drill or screw driver. Here’s where mum and dad finally come in handy!
2. Now tap in a couple of screws to start - not too firmly, it’s just to hold them in place. Now we don’t want any accidents so watch those fingers!! Get a helper to hold the pieces together if it’s a bit fiddly.
3. Using a small drill or screwdriver, start to assemble your box. When it comes to the front, you've a couple of options. Leaving the front open is great for robins, whilst a little nest hole will encourage blue tits and great tits. You can also make a little hinge for the lid out of an old bike tyre, instead of screwing it together. This can make it easier to clean out at the end of the year. Hmm...wait a minute! Maybe I'll get mum or dad to do the drilling!
4. Tada! I went for a blue tit box. Look, I emailed Wildabout Manchester and got a certificate!! Now you can either put your box straight up (using the helpful guidelines at the end of this page) or you can paint and decorate it like I did!
5. You guessed it! I want mine to look cool! So let’s start with a rainbow on the roof…
6. …then maybe a tree on the side.
7. Looks like everyone wants to join in!!
8. Now its finished ill let it dry. I'll add a coat of varnish and it will be ready to put up! See, I told you it was great fun and easy peasy too!!
Here's a few tips for looking after your nestbox once it's ready!
Keep your eyes open throughout the year.
Some species start nesting in February. Start watching in March and expect to see most action in April, May and June.
Birds continue to nest through till September so don’t stop looking in July!
Be careful not to accidentally damage the nest, cause desertion or reveal the nest to predators. However, desertion may arise through causes such as adverse weather, food shortage or death of a parent.
Put your box in a quiet place out of reach of cats, generally between two and five metres up a tree, fence or wall.
Try to face it between north and east, as this avoids strong sunlight and the wettest winds.
Tilt the box forward slightly so that driving rain hits the roof and does not enter the box.
Put different types of boxes in different places around the garden. For instance, put open-fronted nest boxes low down and hide them well in vegetation to attract robins and wrens.
It is important to clean out your nest boxes during the winter every year. This will prevent a build up of debris and remove parasites such as fleas.
If you put in a handful of clean hay or wood shavings, birds may use it as a winter roost.
Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest without any clutter directly in front of the entrance.
If there are any unhatched eggs in the box, these may be removed legally only between August and January and must be disposed of.