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Siting bird boxes

When thinking about where to position your bird box camera it’s important to understand that different species of birds nest in different types of boxes and prefer different locations.

General rules for siting bird boxes;

  • Bird boxes should be sheltered from the wind, rain and strong sunlight.
  • Ideally angled between north and east (northern hemisphere).
  • Avoid busy areas of the garden.
  • Inaccessible to predators (cats, squirrels, mice and rats).
  • The box needs to be close to perches for the young chicks to perch before fledging, but make sure the branches are not strong enough to hold predators.
  • Make sure the birds have a pretty clear flight path to the nest, especially avoid clutter near the entrance to the bird box.
  • At least 10metres from another box.
  • Tilted slightly downwards so that rain water flows off the roof.
  • Don’t damage the tree when fixing the box to it. Secure it with a strap or wire rather than nail.

Species specific notes

Siting nesting boxes for different species of birds
Bird Bird box design Height from ground Notes
Blue Tit 25mm hole 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Coal Tit 25mm hole 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Great Tit 28 or 32mm hole 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
House Sparrow 32mm hole or terrace box 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
House Martin Nest bowls Under the house eaves
Kestrel Large nest box with open front At least 5 metres Clear flight path to entrance
Marsh Tit 25mm hole 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Nuthatch 32mm hole 3 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Pied Flycatcher 28mm hole 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Robin Open fronted (100mm panel) Below 2m Well-hidden in vegetation
Starling long with a 45mm hole near the roof 2-4 metres In a tree or attached to a wall
Spotted Flycatcher Open fronted (60mm panel) 2-4 metres Sheltered by vegetation but with a clear outlook
Tree Creeper Wedge shaped box Attached to a tree
Tree Sparrow 28mm hole 2-4 metres provide two or more sets of boxes so that birds can set up colonies
Woodpecker long with a hole near the roof 2-5 metres On a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance
Wren Open fronted (140mm panel) Below 2m Well-hidden in vegetation

Great Book: Birdhouses you can build in a dayI have found this book Birdhouses You Can Build in a Day it looks like the perfect guide to making bird boxes with all kinds of bird house plans. 50 bird box designs included with step by step guides. The reviews on Amazon look great, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

1 comment to Siting bird boxes

  • Bram Bryant

    I have been delighted with my “camera” nest box and have just experienced Blue tits laying 8 eggs with , sadly, just 3 babies hatching and flying away.
    Do I clean out the nest material? I know they might lay a second batch although it is getting late now, but will they require a fresh clean and empty box for a new start???

    Thank you in anticipation of your reply.

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