You want to add nesting boxes to your garden but you don’t know much about it. Fear not, we have you covered, read on to find out more. Many different types of birds use nesting boxes and the type of box that you put up depends on the type of bird that frequents your garden. Smaller birds tend to go for boxes with a small hole in the front of it that they can just about squeeze through. This helps them feel safe and secure from any predators that might be lurking about. Other birds like robins or blackbirds want boxes that have open fronts. You can’t please them all!
You don’t need to put anything in the boxes to attract occupants, but you should remember at the end of the summer to clean all old nests out of the boxes as some bird species won’t use the box again if it still has last season’s nest in it. You can, if you want, purchase camera kits that fit inside nest boxes which allow you to witness the normally very private event of chicks being reared.
Where to hang nesting boxes is more important than when to hang nesting boxes. Never place a nesting box in a south facing position. When hanging nesting boxes you must consider the occupiers and their young, therefore if you position the box in direct sunlight or in a sometimes sunny spot, come spring when the weather warms up, the occupants inside could be roasted. Also always ensure the box is at least 1.5 m off the ground to prevent any unwanted nosy visitors and make sure it has some form of cover either over it, or near to it. If you are putting up open fronted boxes, they want to be tucked into some foliage or a hedge to disguise them and keep the occupants safe.
You can hang nesting boxes any time of year although if you want to guarantee the birds in your garden have somewhere to go for the breeding season, erect the boxes before February. Be mindful though that if you put them up in the autumn they will provide welcome refuge from the elements during the cold winter months. Finally, there is a good chance that your nesting boxes will be used the first season you put them up. Keep an eye on them though, because if you find them remaining unoccupied for the majority of spring then the box is in the wrong place and should be re-sited.