Well I got my New Year’s wish about the weather and spring is well under way in the garden now.
My tete-tete daffodils planted amongst the orange bare stems of cornus mid-winter fire have warmed up an entire area with their sunny glow. The hellebores are swaying confidently in the breeze, the crocuses and snowdrops are fully established and the muscari are on the cusp of providing a line of beauty along the edge of the border running from the gate to the back of the house. The sound of birdsong is once again a feature of morning sunrise. The starlings are yet again attempting to nest in the eaves of the house outside the bedroom window, eventhough we blocked it up two years ago. This is the time of year when we look forward to the first signs of the smaller birds choosing which of our selection of bird boxes to nest in. It is gas to sit and watch the loved up couples house hunting in our trees – all visible from the kitchen table. In years gone by it was a great form of distraction for a stubborn high chair bound toddler refusing their food. Games of ‘where’s the birdie?’ always worked wonders in helping get the baby food down!
My resourceful Dad made our boxes from the old floorboards in our attic. Once your bird boxes are weatherproof and secure and hung at a height that humans and cats cannot reach, there should be nothing stopping the feathered friends in your neighbourhood from moving in. A sloping roof with a cover of roofing felt will help keep them dry. When hanging the box tilt it slightly forward as this allows the rain run off easily, small drainage holes drilled in the floor is a good idea too.
Different bird species favour different types and locations so nesting boxes must be constructed to meet these needs. We have a selection as all require different openings. A circular hole of 28mm in diameter will suit blue tits and great tits. An opening of 32mm will attract the house sparrow. A partial opening of the top front section will attract robins and wrens or the wagtail. Apart from this, birds are not fussed by the dimensions of the boxes, the number of en-suite bathrooms etc!
The only other requirement is the location of the boxes when hung. If there is no natural shelter avoid hanging in direct sunlight and facing into the prevailing winds. Also do not place near a bird table or feeding area as the comings and goings of other birds will prevent breeding… even the little birds need their privacy!