National Nestbox Week: How to choose and install a bird box

Lifestyle / Sat 17th Feb 2024 at 10:57am

THE RSPCA is encouraging the public to help native birds thrive this spring by installing a bird box during National Nestbox Week (14-21 February).

Putting up a bird box is a brilliant way to encourage birds into your garden, and to help wild bird populations thrive.

RSPCA wildlife expert Evie Button said: “Sadly, habitat loss means there are fewer natural nesting spots for our beloved wild birds today. But the good news is – as we all strive to create a better world for every animal – there are lots of simple steps we can take to help our feathered friends.

“This National Nestbox Week, the RSPCA is encouraging people across England and Wales to help our bird population by installing a bird box and putting out water and food to help them during this cold weather.”

Top tips for installing a bird box

🐦 Put up your bird box before the start of spring ahead of the new breeding season.
🐦 Choose a good sheltered spot facing north or east, protecting birds from predators, sunlight, and strong winds or rain.
🐦 Fix to a tree or wall near to bushes or trees to provide cover.
🐦 Choose a bird box made from sustainable wood (Tip: look for the FSC timber mark).
🐦 Make sure there’s a clear flightpath to the nest box.
🐦 Clean bird boxes out in the autumn (early October or November) when they’re no longer in use.
🐦 And don’t be tempted to peek – watch from a distance or install a nest box camera.

Which birds will you attract to your garden

The type of box you choose and the size of the hole will generally impact which birds use your bird box. As a rule:

🐦 25mm (0.98in) hole – blue tits and coal tits
🐦 32mm (1.26in) hole – great tits and sparrows
🐦 45mm (1.77in) hole – starlings and woodpeckers
🐦 open-fronted boxes – robins, wrens, pied wagtails
🐦 specially-shaped boxes – swifts, swallows, house martins
🐦 boxes clustered together – house sparrows

Open-fronted boxes should be installed approximately 1.5m (4.9ft) high and hidden amongst vegetation to keep them safe from predators, while other boxes should be fixed between 2-4m (6.5-13ft) off the ground, and woodpeckers like boxes in trees between 3-5m (9.75 – 16.25ft) high.

Other ways to help garden birds

🐦 Use bird tables and hanging feeders to help garden birds find food throughout the year.
🐦 Birds love to eat fruit, seeds and grains, fat or suet balls, mealworms and fresh, unsalted peanuts.
🐦 Provide fresh, clean water in a bird table or a shallow dish.
🐦 If you find a sick or injured bird, contact a local wildlife rescue centre or your local vet for advice around bird flu and how to arrange transporting the bird to them.

Evie added: “Every year we have thousands of calls about sick or injured wildlife and we want to ensure that these animals are getting the help they need as quickly as possible, which means getting them to a vet urgently. We are asking people to help us by taking small, sick and injured wildlife to the vets directly, so they can get the care they need more quickly.”

Wildlife Friends

This year the RSPCA celebrates its 200th birthday. To mark this special anniversary the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals’ lives. To find out how you can join their million-strong movement for animals, visit www.rspca.org.uk/200.

Building a nest box is one of the many small tasks the RSPCA has made available as part of its Wildlife Friends volunteering scheme, which the charity successfully launched during last year’s Big Help Out national volunteer initiative to mark the King’s Coronation.

By becoming a Wildlife Friend people can make a pledge to volunteer their time to support, nurture and protect the wildlife with which they share their communities. They can create habitats and environments where wildlife can thrive and be protected from harm.

Help us celebrate our 200th anniversary by joining our community of Wildlife Friends and take part in a choice of 24 simple tasks in 2024 – our birthday year! These tasks include people…

Among the tasks Wildlife Friends can choose to complete in the coming months are:

  • Making an apple and seed bird feeder;
  • Taking part in the Great British Spring Clean;
  • Spring cleaning bird feeders;
  • Creating a butterfly cafe.

If you are interested in becoming an RSPCA Wildlife Friend, you can sign up here.

Find out more about bird boxes online as well as advice on what to do if you find an injured wild animal.

by Taboola

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