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How your Family can Take Part in National Nestbox Week

National Nestbox Week is celebrated from 14th to 21st February every year. It asks everyone to put up more Nestboxes in their local area to help our local birds out and we have some useful tips on how your Family can Take Part this year.

National Nestbox Week was first established in 1997 by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and Britain’s leading bird care specialist Jacobi Jayne and Co, with the purpose of putting a spotlight on Britain’s Breeding Birds and provide everyone with useful information about making, buying and siting a Nextbox.

National Nestbox Week is a fab event to get the kids involved in, not only can you help out our local birds by increasing the number of nestboxes available to them, but too it’s the perfect opportunity for your little ones to learn more about our native birds and how they can help them out.

So, if you fancy taking part in this year’s National Nextbox Week here in West Wales, here’s some useful information on how you can.


Why do we need Nestboxes

Over the years we have put a lot of effort to make our back gardens all neat and tidy and of course we are building more house on greenspace, resulting in our birds with less wild nooks and crannies for birds to breed in.

So, the reason why we need Nestboxes is to help out all these homeless birds! Can you imagine how happy our wild birds would be if your family could put up one or two nestboxes and possibly include some plants in your garden to encourage insects and provide food to them.

Mind you I’m sure it will also make you feel pretty happy too as you watch the birds make themselves home in your back yard.


What Birds use Nestboxes

Different Birds prefer different types of nestboxes and here are a few examples:

How your Family can Take Part in National Nestbox Week in article 1

How your Family can Take Part in National Nestbox Week in article 2

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How your Family can Take Part in National Nestbox Week in article 4

What Makes a Good Nestbox

So, the whole point of the next box is to provide good shelter, watertight and insulated and good security to keep the eggs and chicks safe.

One of the best materials to use is wood as it will keep the inside warm but won’t allow it to get too hot or too cold at night-time.

Also, a metal plate around the entrance hole can deter squirrels from getting in or Woodpeckers trying to make the whole larger to get in and most garden centres sells these.

The type of wood you use it not important, although pine or cedar are popular and recycling wood from another project is also a fab idea, just as long as its at least 15mm thick that will be sure to provide good insulation and wont easily bend over time and you can paint a wood protector on it.

Size wise you need to be able to clean it out so make sure you can fit your hand in it and make sure the entrance whole is at least 120mm up from the inside floor, so they have enough space. It’s always best to have the whole at the font of the box as it allows the nesting birds to keep an eye out for predators.

The ideal roof will overlap the side so to stop the rain from running into the hole and flooding the box and also provide some shade from direct sunlight. Its not a bad idea to have some small drainage holes inside just in case as it will again prevent the box from getting flooded.

It’s a great idea to have either a hinge or some way to remove the lid to the box so at the end of the nesting season you can clear out the box.


When and Where is the Best time to put up a Nestbox

Well this is the reason that National Nestbox Week starts on the 14th February every year because on Love is in the air not just for humans on Valentine day but birds start dating their other halves around this time too!

By putting your bird nestbox up in early spring it means it will be in place ready for when the birds need them. Although young birds might very well have selected their homes back in autumn and winter and used them over the colder periods.

So, to honest any time is the best time to put a nestbox up as the birds will be happy of the new place to call a home

When and Where is the Best time to put up a Nestbox

When it comes to best location to put your nexting box, think safety and think protection from severe weather.  You might be tempted to put the box where you and the family spend most time in your garden, but this might not actually be the best for the birds and after all this is for their benefit.

If you cant place it in a sheltered part of the garden then why not try your best to have the entrance hole face north or east as it will miss the worst of the wind and rain.

Height wise there is no hard and set rule of what height to have them at, obviously you want to be able to reach it, so to keep it clean and fix it if needed and you don’t want it too low to keep it safe, so if you aim for no lower than 1 metre to the ground then this will work well.

Don’t place the box too close to other bird feeding areas you might have or too close to any areas in your garden that is busy with other birds, some peace and quiet would be best.


Looking after your Nestbox

Its really important to take some time to give your box a really good clear out, removing the old nest ready for the next set of birds to enjoy your box and the best time to do this is usually between September and the end of January.

Just keep an eye on if the box is empty and use this time to make any repairs that might be needed.




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