Advice for setting up a new nesting box
If you have ever thought about setting up a nestbox in your garden then before buy or build it, you should first think of where it is going to actually go in your garden. There are lots of tips out there to read before choosing the right location. We will try to summarise a few of the main issues. Finally once it is up and ready do not panic if birds do not come straight away. It can take time for them to find it and settle down no matter where you place it.
Importantly you should try to place your box away from areas with pesticides and herbicides. Not only are these areas dangerous for birds but they are bad for insects which are the primary food source for many birds.
You also should know what species your box is intended for or what you want to attract. For example, if you are after Tits, Sparrows or Starlings then the box should be roughly two to four metres up a wall or a tree.
For all boxes you should be aware of strong sunlight and also strong and wet winds, therefore unless there are trees or buildings providing shade from the sun or shelter from the wind then you should place the box between the north and east. In addition to this the box should be slightly tilted so that rain will hit the roof and not enter directly. You must also make sure that the birds have a clear flight in and out of the box and face to obstacles to get there.
It is best to setup your box around autumn time as this is when the majority of birds will be looking to nest and want to be protected from the harsh conditions of winter. You may also find that they return in the spring.
Take care when fixing your box. Using nails to attach the box to a tree could be harmful so it is best to use wire for this purpose. You can protect the tree from the wire by wrapping rubber such as a hose around the tree to protect it. Also remember that trees not only grow in height but also in width so it is best to check this wire every couple of years to make sure that it is still tight fitting. Overall you must make sure the box is securely fitted that it can withstand strong winds and severe weather.
Photo: Velo Steve