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Bird boxes

I have three bird boxes all in similar locations and facing the same direction.  Why is only one ever used?  Could it be something the boxes have been treated with making them unattractive to the bluetits and great tits?  A suggestion for treating a new box would be appreciated.


  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,383
    Despite taking all the advice from the RSPB, I have never had any occupants in my bird boxes (apart from snails or earwigs). They are regularly checked out by Blue and Great tits they must be failing the inspection as I've never had them choose to nest there.

    I've also put an open shelf like structure under the eaves of the summer house but no luck there either. A neighbour had a blackbird nest in such a site despite it being a well trafficked site so I was hopeful but again no.

    I think the answer to your question is that until birds learn to talk we will never know 🐦🙂🐦

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 10,409
    I wouldn't treat them with anything.  It may be that the other boxes are within the territory of established nests and roosts, so any new seekers could be being driven out before they make a home.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,051
    Maybe they are too close to feeding areas?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 24,318
    edited November 2020
    Except for sparrows who like to live in colonies, the RSPB thinks it unlikely to have more than one nest box occupied in the average garden - 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 645
    I'm told they should ideally be sited facing east or north.  If yours aren't, that could be a clue.
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 563
    Is the hole the right size? Birdies are very picky about that. I have had a slightly smaller hole nibbled bigger but if it is too big they can't do anything to rectify it.
  • Nesting boxes need to be well spaced apart as well. I had 6 boxes along a fence and would have 3 ccupied but never all of them. 
  • How thick or thin is the material that they are made of.  Ideally as thick as possible, an inch or more in thickness is best. East or North Facing at head height or higher.  Partially covered by nearby shrubbery, tree or hedge etc and or shrubs and or trees nearby and within say 4mtrs'ish.  No or very little disturbance from us, children and cats (Ooops done it again, i've just upset somebody).  Hole size is very important too.  Too small they can't get in, too big, and they will go elsewhere or get predated.    Most gardens will only support one box (Of the same type).  You could have a blue tit box and a box for robin and or blackbird together in the same garden.  If you are feeding birds close by then it's unlikely you get nesting birds in your boxes.  Stop feeding in Feb and you might get lucky.
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