Mounting and Care of your Bird Box
Bird boxes are an important addition to your garden as they bring in more birds and provide them with a suitable nesting site, so increasing bird numbers.
To help you (and your birds) get the most from it, here are some guidelines for mounting and maintaining your bird box.
- Most birds nest in early spring so try to have your box in place before then. Otherwise it probably won’t see use until the following year. Putting it up by the previous autumn will increase the chance of it being used as the birds will be used to its presence.
- Do not put the bird box too close to another bird box as birds prefer to nest in relative isolation. Also do not put it near the birds’ food as most birds won’t nest in a box in close proximity to other birds eating.
- A bird box will not necessarily be used every year. And if you’re lucky it may be used twice! It really depends on what sites the birds find each spring.
- For blue tits, great tits and sparrows, mount the box at least 6 feet from the ground, preferably on a tree to protect the box a little but a wall or fence will serve equally well. For robins, mount the box 3-6 feet from the ground, again, preferably on a tree to protect the box a little but a wall or fence will be fine. Robins do tend to prefer to nest in a secluded area so ensure your box is surrounded by plenty of vegetation.
- Try to avoid having the hole facing south or west as it can make it too hot for the birds. North or east are best.
- During the breeding season, avoid visiting the bird box too often as you may cause a disturbance and risk the parents vacating the nest.
- In the autumn, between 1st September and 31st January, give the outside of the box a wipe with a damp cloth and clean out the nesting debris (to reduce the spread of infection between birds), checking that the drainage holes in the base of the box are clear, so that it is ready for a new bird family next spring!
- Moving your bird box: Although it's not ideal to move a bird box once it's been mounted, we know that sometimes it's unavoidable, such as when moving house, building an extension, or removing trees etc. In this case you should make the decision to move/remove the box as far as possible away from nesting times. Under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to "Intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built." With this in mind the ideal time to move or remove a bird box is in the late autumn and winter months, so the dates above regarding cleaning your nest box are best.
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