Celebrating National Nest Box Week 2024

Help our feathered friends by putting up a nest box during National Nest Box Week 2024!  

National Next Box Week is an established part of the ornithological calendar and takes place every year from the 14th to the 21st February.  It’s an important week which is well worth noting on the gardening calendar that aims to encourage everyone to put up nest boxes.  National Nest Box Week plays a huge part in promoting and enhancing biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.

Anyone can take part in National Nest Box week including families with space in their gardens for a nest box, teachers and local wildlife groups.  Taking part in this event will not only mean that you are contributing to the UK’s conservation effort - you can also enjoy watching any breeding birds that your new nest box attracts into your garden.  

Birds in decline:

Sadly the population of many bird species are in decline.  According to the RSPB this is a serious countrywide problem affecting familiar loved species including the house sparrow, song thrush, skylark and lapwings.  There is some positive news that the blue tit, greater spotted woodpecker and nuthatches are doing OK for now, but unfortunately willow tits and lesser spotted woodpeckers are in severe decline and are now on the red list.  We can all do our bit to help by putting up just one nest box during National Nest Box week.  

Types of nest boxes:

There are many types of nest boxes available and different bird species have their own preferences: 

Boxes with small entrance holes are favoured by Blue Tits, Great Tits and House Sparrows. 

Starlings and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers like bigger entrance holes.

Tawny Owls, Jackdaws and Stock Doves need boxes with large holes.

Robins and Wrens like open fronted boxes.

Swifts, House Martins and Swallows have special requirements with specific boxes available.  

Nest boxes for all varieties of birds can be purchased from our Bird Care department, or you can build your own - follow the link at the end of this blog to the National Nest Box Week website where you will find instructions of how to build one.  

Where to place your next box:

The most important thing to remember when putting your nest box up is that it needs to be situated in a safe location so that there are less risks of chicks being vulnerable to predators or bad weather conditions.  

As the height of the box isn’t too critical for many species of birds it is possible to site the box so that you can access it for cleaning or inspections, however it is not recommended to place boxes any lower than one metre above the ground level.  It is important to note that if you do inspect the box at any time, it should be done carefully and with minimum disturbance to the birds.  

Looking after your nest box:

Regularly maintaining nest boxes is good practice when trying to attract birds into making a home in your garden.  They like a nice clean tidy house to raise their chicks in.  Check all nest boxes each year before the new breeding season starts.  Any damaged boxes should  be repaired or replaced.  Remove old nests from boxes.  These can be recycled into you compost bin.  (It’s a good idea to wear gloves and a mask while you do this.)  Use a brush with stiff bristles to remove hardened debris from the corners of the box.  Some birds such as sparrows might have two or three broods in the same nest, so it is best to wait until later in the autumn before beginning cleaning.  Do keep in mind though that smaller birds may well use the nest boxes to roost for extra warmth, so do not delay the cleaning for too long.   

Adding an extra nest box at Poplar:

We have added an extra nest box here at Poplar to do our bit for National Nest Box Week - you can see Eddie fixing it to the tree in the image below.

Finally, click here to visit the National Nest Box Week website where you will find lots more information including nest boxes for other wildlife such as hedgehogs, dormice and bats.