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Nestboxes help please!

Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 363
edited February 2021 in Wildlife gardening
Hi all - looking for advice on helping the garden birds to brood and bring some new life into the world. 
We get plenty of goldfinches, blue & great tits, the odd blackcap, a couple of robins, blackbirds and then pigeons (feral and wood).  There are quite a few cats around, we've got a couple of largeish trees and there should be a fair bit of natural food for them (earthworms, caterpillars, insects) as well as seed and suet.
Assume height, cover, size are relevant but don't know much else!  Thanks!


  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 335

    This RSPB guide sets out appropriate heights, aspects and hole sizes. Somewhere which has got an uncomplicated approach for them so they can fly in without obstacles and not too close to feeders are the other recommendations that I've seen elsewhere.
  • Time's getting short for boxes to be used this year, so do it soon! Of the species you mention, the tits are the most reliable and might investigate a box straight away - hole of 25mm or so, and stuck up a tree. Robins want an open-fronted box, preferably hidden in some cover, like a shrub (some boxes come with a detechable piece including the hole, so can be converted to open-front). The others prefer to do their own thing. If you have any around, then starlings like boxes (larger box with larger hole). I have swifts here as well, but that's getting a bit specialised, but great to help combat their decline if they're already in the area - boxes usually on buildings rather than trees (though I have one pair of swifts which regularly use a 'starling' box, despite it breaking all the 'rules' for what swifts go for).
  • Thanks both - will investigate!
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,458
    Rob Lockwood   Simplicity itself, Rob, to make yourself with basic tools and a reasonably good pallet to provide the timber.  As someone else has said, you're a bit late for this year as many birds are on the lookout now and tend to use what they're used to seeing as they fly around the area.  Be careful what you use for weatherproofing as it may smell.  Leave that aspect until next year?
  • Thanks Nick - yes, I'm not expecting any action this year, more that I've been meaning to do this for a couple of years and never got round to it, so if they go up shortly, the birds will be used to them and will have checked them out by next spring.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,458
    They MAY use them this year, depending on the availability of nest sites, Rob, but preservatives usually have a strong smell so all I was suggesting was to put them up 'raw' this year to have a chance of customers, but then remove them in, say, September for weatherproofing so that they're 100% for 2022.
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