Gardening with Children

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Put up some Nest Boxes in your garden to help our wonderful birds

Date Posted: 01 February 2015


Birds come in all shapes and sizes, each species is as particular about where it lives as the nests that it makes, unfortunately due to housing redevelopment and intensive farming many birds are losing their natural habitats and nest sites, this makes it harder for them to breed and is leading to a decline in many species.

The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) is encouraging individuals, families, schools, and community groups during National Nest Box Week (14th – 21st February 2015) to put up Nest Boxes in their gardens or their local area to provide a home for birds. 

To maximise the number and variety of birds that you can encourage to nest in your garden consider putting up different types of nest boxes for specific species of birds - the nesting season is starting to get into full swing so get them installed as soon as you can! 

Which Nest Box to Choose?


  Robin & Wren Nest Box

Robin & Wren Nest Box - With its wide opening and flat base this box has been specifically designed for Robins and Wrens who prefer to nest in an open fronted box, the front panel unscrews for easy cleaning.


 Teapot Bird Nester


Teapot Bird Nester - The friendly Robin is the gardener's companion. Robins will flit around the garden collecting insects, seeds and worms and can often become so tame they will feed from your hand. Robins prefer open nesting sites and often utilise man-made objects like open boxes, kettles and traditional teapots. 

Open Birch Log Nest Box

The Open Birch Log Nest Box is perfect if you prefer a more natural look and is suitable for Robins, Wrens, Spotted Flycatchers, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds.

 Blackbird Nest Box

Blackbird Nest Box - With its open front and larger size, this nest box has been specially designed for Blackbirds, but you may find that Robins and Wrens are also attracted to this box too. Blackbirds can have up to five successful broods in one year so don't move any old nests until the breeding season is well and truly over (October onwards).

Open fronted Nest Boxes need to be well hidden by vegetation to keep predators awayattach your box to a wall or fence that has shrubs and creepers growing against it, they should be located low to the ground 1-2m high.


Timber House Sparrow Terrace

House Sparrow Terrace Nest Box House Sparrows are very social birds and prefer to nest in colonies, this large box is split into three chambers to fit three nesting pairs, the 32mm entrance holes are positioned one at each end and one on the front. House Sparrows were once one of our commonest birds but populations have declined sharply in recent years partly due to a lack of natural nesting sites. House sparrows are happy to use a nest box positioned high under the eaves, but when locating it remember to keep it away from areas where House Martins or Swifts usually nest.

Birch Log Hole Nest Box

Birch Log Hole Nest Box - The 32mm entrance hole is a favourite with many species including Great Tits, Blue Tits, House Sparrows, Nuthatches and Pied Flycatchers. The natural appearance of the Birch will blend in with your garden.

Bowland Nest Box

Bowland Nest Box - A traditional style 32mm entrance hole nest box with a pivoting front panel for easy cleaning, will attract Nuthatches, House Sparrows, Blue Tits and Great Tits.

Pembroke Nest Box

Pembroke Nest Box - A quality attractive nest box with a 32mm entrance hole and an overhanging roof it will attract Great Tits, Blue Tits, Nuthatches and Pied Flycatchers.

Build Your Own Nest Box

Build Your Own Nest Box

National Nest Box Week often coincides with the half term so why not have a go at making your own nest box during the school holidays, this kit contains everything that you need to produce your very own nest box (Pre-cut and pre drilled wood sections, screws, nails, washers, a hanger and clear instructions) the 32mm entrance hole makes it suitable for House Sparrows, Great Tits, Blue Tits and Nuthatches. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than a pair of birds choosing and rearing a brood of chicks in a nest box that you have made.

Small holed nest boxes are best placed 1-3m above ground.

House Martin Nest Box - Single Chamber

House Martin Nest Boxes - House Martins build mud nests on the eaves of buildings, often in colonies, they will readily use artificial nests which may encourage other birds to nest nearby. Artificial nests are available in single chamber or double chamber and should be sited underneath the eaves of your house or outbuildings away from other types of nest boxes.

Putting up a Nest Box

Where you put your nest box is very important, put it in the wrong position and you may not get any birds nesting in it.

Place your box away from prolonged strong sunlight, strong winds and prevailing rain, face the box in a north to east direction

Birds like to have a clear flight path to the nest box so avoid too many obstacles that can make access difficult.

Tilt the Nest box downwards a little bit, then when it rains, the rain is more likely to hit the roof and not enter the nest box itself.

Site the nest box away from bird feeders and away from nest boxes of the same type this can cause conflict between neighbours of the same species.

Position the box so that it is not easily accessible to predators (cats and squirrels).

If squirrels/woodpeckers are common in your garden consider screwing a metal nest box plate around the hole this prevents them from making the hole larger to reach inside for the young birds.

Cleaning your Nest Boxes

Old nests can harbour disease and parasites and they should be removed and the boxes cleaned, boiling water can be used to kill any remaining bugs and the box should then be left to dry out thoroughly before putting it back up, you can place a small handful of wood shavings or hay inside as birds may roost there or small mammals may use it to hibernate. Nest boxes should be cleaned out between 1 August and 31 January and any dead eggs must be destroyed, they cannot be kept or sold. When cleaning out nest boxes it is advisable to wear surgical gloves and a dust mask, old nests may harbor fungi on damp nest material, which can cause respiratory diseases. Nests can also house a variety of parasites such as fleas, lice and ticks, it is best, therefore, when removing the old nest to put them straight into a plastic bag and seal it before disposal.

 Nest Box with Infra Red Camera

Nest Boxes with Cameras 

The RSBP recommend that nest boxes should not inspected whilst birds are nesting, however tempting this might be. If you want to watch all the activity as it happens in your nest box why not consider a nest box that has an integrated camera, you can keep an eye on everything that’s going on on your television.



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