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Britain needs more nest boxes
14th February 2016
National Nest Box Week 2016, 14th – 21st February
Many of the UK’s birds will struggle to find a suitable nesting site for the breeding season. Potential nesting sites are disappearing due to the renovation of old buildings, the loss of woodland habitat and tidy gardens with a lack of suitable tree holes. Anyone can help provide more space by putting up a nest box.
The National Nest Box Week (NNBW) encourages people to put a nest box up in their local area. People are also asked to sign up for the Nest Box Challenge, where they can report activity in their nest box. Organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the event is in its 19th year.
Different types of nest boxes can provide homes for different types of bird. House Sparrows need a small-hole type nest box with a 32mm entrance hole. Robins will use open-fronted type nest boxes, preferably tucked away in a bit of cover. You can even provide nesting space for House Martins by fixing an artificial nesting cup just below your eaves.
Jonathan Warrin of the BTO said, “Anyone can find a space for a bird box, whether you have a garden or want to get permission to put up a box in your local park. Seeing birds raising chicks in the box is a great way for people, young and old, to connect with nature. Don’t leave birds out in the cold, get involved with National Nest Box Week.”
Your nest box can provide valuable data to scientists monitoring UK bird populations. The Nest Box Challenge (NBC), which is free to join, involves regularly looking in your box and using an on-line form to report any eggs or chicks inside. Data on how well birds are breeding in our changing climate is vitally important and will be used to direct conservation efforts.
Nest Box Dos and Don’ts
• Buy a box made of insulating material such as wood or woodcrete, and of a sufficient thickness (no less than 15mm).
• Choose a box which allows easy access to look at the contents.
• Get your box up before or during NNBW so it is ready for prospecting birds.
• Put your box in direct sunlight, this can cause the contents to overheat.
• Use a box with a perch. These can allow access to predators such as squirrels.
• Place the box close to a bird feeder. Visiting birds could disturb the nesting pair.
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