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Which nest box for which bird?

FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
Hi, I'm interested in putting up a nest box on the back of my terraced house. The site:

-has no eaves / overhang
-north facing
-open
-not near trees or bushes
-fairly close to a big park with deciduous woodland
-not near very a waterway/lake
I have a tiny pond / glorified bird bath

Further around the back of the house, is a regular sparrow nesting spot, annually used. My understanding that martins, sparrow and swifts need overhangs.  Robins nest low down. So, if I put up a small nest box like this, I would imagine I would get blue tits. Their populations are doing ok.

I am hoping to support struggling birds. Ideally this would be martins/swallows/swifts, but, as mentioned, I don't think this is possible.

I would welcome any creative thoughts on this.

Thanks


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Posts

  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Depending on the size of the hole, you could get blue tits or great tits. Off the top of my head, I think it is 25mm for blue tits and 28mm more chance of great tits.  They prefer an open box (no overhanging shrubbery etc, unlike robins for example) with a direct flight path apparently.  

    I reckon if you are helping any birds to nest it's a good thing. :)
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    Thanks. We are swimming in great and blue tits. But if it comes to it, I will go for them.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    I discover a type of nest box for swifts that doesn't need to be set under an overhang, so will investigate that. Too late now for nesting this year, but hopefully for the next.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,913
    Have you been onto the RSPB website? They have lots of info on nest boxes for different species - what size openings for which sort of birds, where to site them for those birds, that sort of thing. They don't assume you'll buy one - they give information on making them too
    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    Yes, I have spent the evening rummaging the web. I see some that are designed for swifts and / or bats to best in, and ones that create colonies. I would love that. I thought most designs needed eaves, but it turns out, not these days.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,913
    edited June 2018
    We have dozens of swallows, martins and swifts as well as pipistrelle bats. There are some nesting in the expected sort of under eaves nests but most seem to just find places they like - just as robins and wrens tend to do (OH couldn't use his cement mixer one summer because there was a wren nesting in the control box).
    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    Lovely. I'm in north London and where I am is not so wild. Our garden is not large, the trees not huge, so birds need a little extra help to nest, although the sparrows have an abundance of eavy options, which they grab each year. We seem to have at least three clutches annually from each nest, as the situ is so good for them. The PsTB used to bang on about having to clean and disinfect installed nest boxes, but I don't see much info on that any more.

    I'll put up some blue tit boxes too, but bat/swift is the current plan. Very exciting.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,461
    North facing is a good aspect for a bird box as the prevailing wind during the nesting season isn't blowing that way. Nest boxes aren't just useful for nesting birds though. Bats will use them, I've had bumblebee nests in several of mine, wasp nests, woodmice and dormice, and birds will use them all year round even if they're not nesting. I was checking one of the sparrow terraces that I'd put up at my parents' place in the autumn and a blue tit was roosting overnight on one chamber and wrens were using one of the other ones for roosting at the same time. Wrens especially need good roosting boxes in the winter if it's very cold.

    The cons with bird boxes in urban areas tend to be that there are higher levels of predators and less cover for fledging birds. That's what makes swift boxes ideal for you more than anything I think. Once those swiftlets have left the nest they won't touch the ground for maybe 3 years. They tend to prefer to nest in colonies though which might make one box unsucessful.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 7,190
    edited June 2018
    The life cycle of the swift is indeed so incredible.

    The only place I have to place the boxes, are on the outside of a bedroom wall, one brick thick. Would talking or music put of birds or bats on the other side of the wall, do you think? I would place it as far away from the bedroom window as poss.

    I'd like to put some nest boxes in my elder tree too, but there are so many cats around and the elder is easy to climb...


  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 5,461
    The wall of your house is the safest place for nest boxes. Anything over 3 metres up will keep them out of the way of cats and rats. I like to use woodcrete boxes like the Schwegler ones as you can clean them much more easily than wood. I do have a couple of the RSPB classic apex boxes in wood though and they're used every year.


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