National Nest Box Week is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology BTO (Britain’s leading bird research charity) and is all about helping birds. Starting on St Valentine's Day, 14th February and running for a week until 21st February every year, it reminds us that now is the time to put up nest boxes for our garden birds at the start of their breeding seasons. National Nest Box Week aims to encourage everyone to put up a bird nest box in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and the conservation of breeding birds and wildlife.
Not sure which nest box to put up or where? Below is a quick guide to help you in making the right choice plus information on the best place to locate it and what to feed the birds when they are nesting:
Remember nestboxes come in all shapes and sizes for a range of different birds — don’t forget your lower nesting birds like Robins, Wrens and Dunnocks.
Tits prefer to be higher up in a nest box with a small hole entrance.
There are lots of nest box styles around, but look for those that have natural-looking designs and materials treated with safe preservatives. The entrance holes should also be at a height that doesn’t allow predators to reach in and scoop chicks out.
Don’t choose plastic as it can overheat in the sun and cook the birds inside, a material like wood is much better for the birds.
Birds need nest sites where they feel safe and sheltered, so place yours away from sites such as the top of fences that make life easy for predators, and protect from strong sunlight and prevailing winds and rain.
This means, in most places, facing North East is the best option. Choose a spot somewhere between north, east and south-east. This will also mean that the early morning sun will gently warm the box after a cold night.
Walls tend to be a better choice than trees since cats find it more difficult to scale them, but you can plant dense and prickly bushes around trees to deter them if you haven’t got suitable walls. In terms of height, around 1.5 metres to 5.5 metres is ideal, with at least 3 metres recommended if your garden is frequented by cats.
Another good point is to avoid putting your boxes too close to feeding stations as the regular presence of other birds of the same species in their territory will make the parent birds focus on driving out competitors rather than feeding their young.
It is best to position them where you can enjoy it too, but don’t go over to the nestbox all the time, this will scare the parents and they might abandon their chicks in the nest. If you want to keep an eye on them then investing in a camera would be a great way to do it.
Birds use up a lot of energy in the building up and during nesting season. Keeping them topped up with nutritious food is a must. Our Wheatsheaf Gourmet Zero Grow Mixture contains a variety of seeds, suet and dried mealworms making it high in protein and energy - perfect for both parents and their brood. All the ingredients are non germinating (no mess) and is fortified with Soya Oil.
It can be fed all year round especially during the harsh winter months and the demanding breeding season.
Alternatively our best selling 'Premium' Bakery Grade Sunflower Hearts produced from the Black Oil Sunflowerseeds have the HIGHEST OIL content for a great energy source. They are HUSK FREE (dehulled) they create very little waste or mess and can be fed from either a hanging feeder, bird table or even on the ground. A favourite of the Tit and Finch family!
Suet is also a great option for birds nesting in the colder months.
Don’t forget never leave out whole peanuts as baby birds might choke - peanut granules are a much safer option.
Our NEW Calciworms are high in protein, energy giving fat, amino acids and uniquely high in essential calcium. Suitable to feed to a wide variety of garden birds, poultry, insects, fish and mammals including hedgehogs they typically have up to 40 - 50 times the amount of calcium than other dried insects or worms. Their positive calcium to phosphorus ratio means they aid the development of strong bones and eggs.