Thursday, 19 February 2009

the big three of bird boxes

Hurry, hurry, it is almost too late to give your garden birds the best chance of a successful breeding season this year!

Outside, the snow has cleared and the weather has become mild. Birds are prospecting around the gardens for suitable breeding territories.

A must for each territory is a suitable nest site - and bird boxes are a brilliant way of making your garden a 'des res' address for our feathered friends. Last year our boxes scored successes with starlings, blue tits and great tits.

It's time to get it right for them again this year!

Job 1
Each box should be designed to allow you to clean the box out. Last years nest material may contain decaying youngsters, infertile eggs, faeces - or parasitic mites. So, with your gloves on, empty out the rubbish into a bucket for composting. Pictured is a box after it has been emptied.

Job 2
Ensure that the box is sited correctly. If it hasn't been successful for a couple of years, try another spot. Keep it away from places that become overheated. What may seem ideal now may become an overheated death trap in May. Ensure that it is not too close to the bird feeders. Your birds may expend unnecessary energy defending their territory if other birds are regularly visiting feeders that are too close to their nest.

Job 3
Make sure that the lids are secure and squirrel proof. Mine usually have a hi tec piece of wire that is wrapped around two nails - one in the lid and one in the side of the box. This one is very old and has special hooks! Check that the box is fixed so that it cannot fall. Here I have re-sited a venerable box and mended it with a piece of pond liner. The old hinge had withered away.

Now sit back and enjoy the pleasure of seeing your boxes used for another succesful breeding season.




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