Nest Boxes

We have separated bird boxes out from all the other wildlife homes that we offer simply because we have so many to choose from. So if you're looking for hedgehog homes, bat boxes or even bee nesting tubes you'll need to check out our 'Habitats' category from the search page. Here we offer a huge range of structures for your garden birds to roost and nest in. From traditional wooden bird boxes for sparrows and tits, to concrete shells which help house martins make their mud nests more secure, there really is something for everyone. We even have Cambox, a bird box with a TV camera built-in!

Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'best' time to put up bird nesting boxes. Birds will quickly become familiar with boxes erected during the latter part of the year and may well use them for winter roosts, especially if they already contain a little hay or wood shavings. Boxes erected before the end of February stand the best chance of being used for nesting that season, but it is not unusual for tits to take over boxes as late as April if there is a shortage of natural sites. House martins may well use boxes erected in July, which is halfway through their breeding season!

Nest boxes can be fixed to walls, trees or buildings. The important thing is to site the box correctly and in a position where the birds will feel safe from predators. Above all, make certain that they cannot be reached by any marauding cats! If the site is exposed, it is advisable to position the nest box so that the opening is not exposed to full sun or the prevailing wind. Choose a spot about 3-4 metres above the ground, where there is easy flight access to the box opening.

It is advisable to clean out nesting boxes during October or November. Any fleas or other parasites that have built up over the breeding season, should be killed off with boiling water, and any unhatched eggs should be removed. Once the box is clean and dry, remember to add a little hay or a few wood shavings, to encourage the birds to use it for a winter roost. If you're fortunate, winter- roosting birds may well reserve the box for the next breeding season.

During the breeding season, please leave the box alone. It can be very tempting to open the box to see what is happening inside, but this should only be done with great caution, and only ever when the birds are away from the box. Careless opening of any bird box may well cause the birds to desert the nest. If you really have to look inside, tapping lightly on the side of the box first should cause any birds inside to fly away - at least for a short while - ensuring that they won't be startled by you opening the box. Never inspect the nest when you know it contains young, as this will almost certainly cause the parents to desert it, with disastrous results for the young nestlings. The soundest advice is not to inspect the boxes at all during the breeding season. Far better is to watch the activities from a reasonable distance and to enjoy the pleasure of seeing a successful brood brought off the nest.

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