‘Giving nature a home’ can mean lots of things. Sometimes it means growing insect-friendly plants and flowers. Other times it’s about planting a tree or digging a pond. But in this case it is literally about providing somewhere for birds to call ‘home’.
It’s the time for romance...
National Nestbox Week runs from 14-21 February, and it’s the perfect time to put up a nestbox in time for the breeding season. If you do it now, it’s possible that your first feathered tenants could move in within weeks!
Why do birds need our help?
The populations of some of our most familiar garden birds - such as starlings and house sparrows - are in big trouble. One of the reasons is because our own homes no longer have the nooks and crannies where these birds can build a nest. This is where you step in.
How to give a family a home
We’ve got everything you need to know about building your own starling, sparrow or swift nestbox. Follow our step-by-step instructions and you can’t go wrong.
But don’t worry if you’re not much of a DIY fan – you can buy one ready-made from our shop. Our range also includes boxes to suit robins, wrens, tits, nuthatches, wrens, flycatchers, house martins, swallows and even owls and kestrels!
You can also buy nestboxes with built-in cameras so you can watch what’s happening inside from the comfort of your sofa... the action will beat any TV soap hands-down.
Attracting a tenant
It helps to know which birds are around when you’re choosing a nestbox. To boost your success rate, watch to see who’s visiting your garden or local area.
But remember that not all birds nest in holes (and so will use nestboxes) - some, such as long-tailed tits, thrushes finches and dunnocks, prefer the shelter of a shrub or bush and build a beautiful creation from moss, grass, lichen and mud.
When does it all start?
Birds time their breeding season to closely match when food will be available for their chicks. Unseasonal weather can trigger some to make an early start, but many birds start nesting in March and April.
Some species can rear more than one family per year: sparrows, robins and swallows can have up to three broods, but blue tits and starlings normally make only one attempt.
Young blue tits and great tits might have left the nest in May, while the last young swallows might be learning to fly into September!
Let us know if you put up a nestbox, and what happens!