Category Archives: Nest Boxes

Nest Boxes for our Garden Birds – for breeding and for using as roosts

Nest Boxes

There seems to be less natural nesting sites,  so putting a nest box up is more important than ever to help our garden birds.

Early January (or any time in winter) is a good time to put a nest box up because a lot of birds choose their nest sites early and also use nest boxes as roosts.

In winter birds need shelter from wind, rain, snow and freezing weather – winters can be long and hard for birds. In winter some birds stay for 16 hours a day in their roost – which could be the nest box that you bought.

Please get in touch if you have any top tips or have any questions.  Looking after birds is like having pets sometimes isn’t it?

In most cases it is best to use a simple wooden box with opening lid.  If the nest box has a lid that opens it makes it easy to clean the nest box out when the nesting season has finished.   Now is not the time to clean  nest boxes as they could be being used as roosts

 

 

40 WRENS ROOSTING IN ONE BIRD BOX

This was sent in 2010.  Garth was watching wrens go into a normal sized bird box!  It shows how important normal nest boxes can be!

The figure of 20 (wrens) was soon passed and then 30, which we thought quite unbelievable in one normal sized bird box.

A figure of 40 was then reached, with more wrens still arriving by the minute and queuing up around the site, so it was speculated we might even reach 50! At 4 30 things went very quiet so the observation was terminated.

It is true to say that 50 wrens were seen to go in but two came out at the end and went elsewhere, leaving still an incredible figure of 48 all tucked up warmly inside.

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I’m showing it again because I think we may forget that birds use nest boxes as roosts in winter.  These nest boxes must have saved the lives of many birds

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Read the full article below

Harsh Winter for Wrens by Garth

The winter at the end of 2010 was a  particularly harsh one, starting very early with the first snow on the 26th Nov and the cold spell continuing through most of Dec. On nine days in this period the max at Old Storridge never got above 0C with some night temperatures dropping to -10C.

These conditions put a great strain on the resident birds especially those with the least body mass such as the wren. 

A timely reminder from a resident of Birchwood Lane, just a ten minute walk through the woods, encouraged us to see a phenomena not observed very often. During the last winter he had observed a number of wrens going to roost in a bird box attached to one corner upright of an open barn used as a workshop, and claimed there were at least twenty entering the box. On the evening of the 19th Dec with the daily maximum having only reached -3C that day, I met my sister Cherry  and her husband to see how this activity actually works.

In snowy conditions I arrived at the box at around 3 40pm with no birds to be seen and thought it was too late and they all must be in as it was so cold.

By 3 55 three pairs of eyes were studying the box, when the first wren arrived, hung about for a bit and then went in only to reappear again as if to say I am not going to be the first! This was repeated a few times by more wrens, which had started to arrive. By 4 10 just a few had stayed inside, but others kept on arriving and continuing with this in and out action.

By nature this bird cannot be called a social bird, setting up territories in the spring and defending them against other male wrens, so this winter gathering has to overcome this part of their make up. It is an ingenious scheme all huddling together in a sheltered area, through long cold nights, saving on the loss of body heat. The speculation is how did this evolve?

The numbers going into the box continued to be monitored with the figure rising steadily, but dropping back still as a few birds kept coming out.

The figure of 20 was soon passed and then 30, which we thought quite unbelievable in one normal sized bird box. A figure of 40 was then reached, with more wrens still arriving by the minute and queuing up around the site, so it was speculated we might even reach 50! At 4 30 things went very quiet so the observation was terminated. It is true to say that 50 wrens were seen to go in but two came out at the end and went elsewhere, leaving still an incredible figure of 48 all tucked up warmly inside.

It is also a remarkable fact that there were still so many wrens still alive in the surrounding district with the inclement conditions.

Since this number could not all be living closely around the site, some birds must have flown in quite a distance from their territory. The last question of course is just how all these birds get to know that there is a wren Hilton, where they all gather for the night? Memory must work quite well as it was used last year, but how did all those youngsters from this year cotton on to this fact?

It was a magical 45 minutes watching the wrens performing their going to bed actions, which must be taking place night after night in this long period of intense cold.

Garth   Dec 2010

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You may not get as many as 40 birds in your bird box, but you will find that it is being used in the winter as a roost.

Allan has just let me know that  –

“The time is 4 50 pm.  We have a camera in a bird box and we have just been watching 4 wrens bed down for the night.

 Last night there were 5  –  one has  not turned up tonight”

Isn’t that great!  Being able to watch wrens bed down the the night.  Better than TV

HARSH WINTER BY GARTH – WRENS ROOSTING – AN AMAZING STORY

Harsh Winter for Wrens by Garth

The winter at the end of 2010 was a  particularly harsh one, starting very early with the first snow on the 26th Nov and the cold spell continuing through most of Dec. On nine days in this period the max at Old Storridge never got above 0C with some night temperatures dropping to -10C.

These conditions put a great strain on the resident birds especially those with the least body mass such as the wren. 

A timely reminder from a resident of Birchwood Lane, just a ten minute walk through the woods, encouraged us to see a phenomena not observed very often. During the last winter he had observed a number of wrens going to roost in a bird box attached to one corner upright of an open barn used as a workshop, and claimed there were at least twenty entering the box. On the evening of the 19th Dec with the daily maximum having only reached -3C that day, I met my sister Cherry  and her husband to see how this activity actually works.

In snowy conditions I arrived at the box at around 3 40pm with no birds to be seen and thought it was too late and they all must be in as it was so cold.

By 3 55 three pairs of eyes were studying the box, when the first wren arrived, hung about for a bit and then went in only to reappear again as if to say I am not going to be the first! This was repeated a few times by more wrens, which had started to arrive. By 4 10 just a few had stayed inside, but others kept on arriving and continuing with this in and out action.

By nature this bird cannot be called a social bird, setting up territories in the spring and defending them against other male wrens, so this winter gathering has to overcome this part of their make up. It is an ingenious scheme all huddling together in a sheltered area, through long cold nights, saving on the loss of body heat. The speculation is how did this evolve?

The numbers going into the box continued to be monitored with the figure rising steadily, but dropping back still as a few birds kept coming out.

The figure of 20 was soon passed and then 30, which we thought quite unbelievable in one normal sized bird box. A figure of 40 was then reached, with more wrens still arriving by the minute and queuing up around the site, so it was speculated we might even reach 50! At 4 30 things went very quiet so the observation was terminated. It is true to say that 50 wrens were seen to go in but two came out at the end and went elsewhere, leaving still an incredible figure of 48 all tucked up warmly inside.

It is also a remarkable fact that there were still so many wrens still alive in the surrounding district with the inclement conditions.

Since this number could not all be living closely around the site, some birds must have flown in quite a distance from their territory. The last question of course is just how all these birds get to know that there is a wren Hilton, where they all gather for the night? Memory must work quite well as it was used last year, but how did all those youngsters from this year cotton on to this fact?

It was a magical 45 minutes watching the wrens performing their going to bed actions, which must be taking place night after night in this long period of intense cold.

Garth   Dec 2010

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Isn’t that a magical story.  Amazing.  Garth has been really thoughtful in his writing.

How did the young birds from this year know what to do

How did all the wrens know where there was a warm, safe place to roost

Which area did they all come from as they would not have been together during the day in a small area

HOW DID THEY ALL FIT IN?

Thank you so much Garth.  I apologise for not putting this on before, but the winter was harsh which made more work and I had computer problems and I did not see it until just now. 

It must have been magical for you to be so close to nature.  I can picture it in my head, you write about it so well.

Thank you

If you think this is an amazing story please leave a comment for Garth

Trisha

 

 

HANDYKAM NEST BOX DETAILS

Handykam have spent a long time developing a good kit and the nest boxes are made to resist the bad weather that  we get – especially from the Atlantic.

The nest boxes themselves are made from either cedar or pine

  • Cedar is made from western red cedar from Cornwall
  • FSC pine is high quality wood from North America

Nest Boxes are also used a roosts in winter.  There have been reports of 20 birds sharing one nest box to shelter from the freezing winter nights.  So as well as providing nesting sites they provide roosts and also a viewing of wildlife from our homes.

If you would like to read more about Handykam click the link below and go straight to their information page.

HANDYKAM NEST BOX DETAILS

If you do buy a nest box I’d like to know how you get on.

NEST BOX WATCHING – MORE INTERESTING THAN TV

Have seen sparrows collecting nesting material.  

There is an old nest box on a tree near our garden and I’ve seen some sparrows taking a  look 

As I write this two sparrows are sitting on top of the oldest nest box we have put up.  ~they are obviously nesting there.  I nearly took this nest box down last year as the wood is cracked from top to bottom.  It doesn’t seem to bother the sparrows and  they are having a frenzie of activity around this nest box

One sparrow has just popped in and then popped out again.  They are both now sitting on a bare branch nearby.  They are never still for a minute.

I suppose the good thing about this bird box is that is is very close to the birdtable!

One of the sparrows has a small piece of grass or twig in its beak and has flown into the nest with it.

Winter is really over.

In one of the newer nest boxes have just this minute seen the tail end of a bird enter the nest box  ~Wonder what bird this is

Musn’t forger to clean these bird boxes out at the end of the season.  I know some of them have been used as roosts in the winter for the garden birds to keep warm through the winter nights.

From my kitchen window I can see 5 nest boxes that we’ve put up over the years. I think two need taking down as they look dilapidated.  Wonder if they will all be used this year.  I’ll keep my eyes open.

BLUE TIT TAKING AN INTEREST IN THE NEW NEST BOX

Have just this minute seen a blue tit taking an interest in the nest box we put up a few days ago.

It half entered the box then flew off. 

Now I have seen a sparrow taking an interest in the same bird box. 

Perhaps next year I should put up some nest boxes with smaller holes. Perhaps.

We may get all 5 nest boxes being used this year.

The roof felt has come away from the flat porch roof and some sparrows have build a nest inside.  They perch on the spouting and seem at home hopping in and out of the roof space.  Instead of a neat porch roof we have twigs and old grass   coming through the gap.  I think nature is taking over round here.

It is certainly the nesting season.  The memories of the long hard winter will soon be long gone.

WHERE TO PLACE A NEST BOX

WHERE SHOULD A BOX BE PLACED?

  • Fix the bird box two to five metres up a tree or wall, out of the reach of cats

 

  • Unless there are trees or buildings that give the nest box shelter, it is best facing between  north and south east.  This avoids strong sunlight and the wettest winds.

 

  • Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and fall clear
     

NEW NEST BOX – DID I CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE

We’ve just put a nest box.  Maybe should have put it up earlier, but this is one of the jobs that got forgotten.  Will be interesting to see if it is used this year.  It looks very neat among all the old nest boxes

One of the reasons I chose this nest box was because it only had one nail fastening the lid down, so it should be easy to open when we clean it out at the end of summer. 

Did I do right?  The nest box lid is not sealed from the elements.  There was one that had a tile roof and was really fastened down but I could not see how it could be cleaned out.  

Any advice is welcome from anyone who reads this.

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Another reason I chose this nest box is because it has openings at the base that will let any rain run out of the box – so keep the nest box dry.  

I have heard of fledgling drowning in nest boxes when the rain enters and slowly fills the nest box,  But again – have I chosen the right nest box.  Should I have got one where the base was totally sealed.  Again any knowledge, tips and advice welcome.

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New nest box  - better late than never

New nest box waiting for a family

GARDMAN CAMERA NEST BOX

I have never been able to afford a camera nest box as I seem to spend enough money on bird food and don’t have any left for such a luxury

If you would like to treat yourselves to a nest box that also have a camera in why not try this reasonaly prices Gardman Camera Nest Box

Gardman have a good reputation in bird food and bird care

Putting up Bird Boxes

I thought I would put some notes about nest boxes as they are important.

There seems to be less natural nesting sites and putting a nest box up is more important than ever to help our garden birds.

Early January (or any time in winter) is a good time to put a nest box up because a lot of birds choose their nest sites early and also use nest boxes as roosts.

In most cases it is best to use a simple wooden box with opening lid. If the Bird Box has a lid that opens it makes it easy when cleaning out after the nesting season.

In February it will be National Nest Box Week but you don’t have to wait until then to put up a nest box.

More information on Nest Boxes to follow

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