Putting up a nest box in your garden will help combat the shortage of nesting sites in the UK and can be a very rewarding experience. We’ve put together a guide on how to choose the best nest box for your garden.
Choosing the right box:
• It’s important to get a good quality nest box. You want your nest box to provide good insulation and ventilation, making them warm in winter and cool in summer. FSC Timber nest boxes are perfect for this.
• Have a look at what birds usually visit your garden. Nest Boxes are excellent substitutes for holes found in trees which smaller birds will go inside of. A 25mm hole in the nest box is a good size for smaller birds like blue tits, coal tits and marsh tits.
• For slightly larger birds such as great tits, house sparrows, nuthatches and lesser spotted woodpeckers a nest box with a 32mm hole would be suitable as they will still be protected from predators.
• The best time to put up a nest box is autumn. Many birds will enter nestboxes during the autumn and winter, looking for a suitable place to roost or perhaps to feed.
Where to place your box:
• Some birds prefer an open location; others prefer the entrance hidden away. House sparrows like to nest in groups so grouping a few single boxes together or buying a ‘row’ of boxes is best.
• Boxes need to be placed away from predators such as grey squirrels and larger birds. Always place the box where the nesting bird has a clear flight into the hole.
• Do not position nest boxes too close to each other. Most garden birds are very territorial and having too many in one patch may create aggressive behaviour.
• Face the box in any direction except South. If siting in woodland, the dry side of the tree trunk offers the most protection.
• Open nest boxes require more cover; putting them near to climbing plants where they are partly hidden is ideal. Siting your nest box near vegetation also aids young birds taking their first flight as it gives them support and cover.
• Tilt the box forward slightly so that any rain will hit the roof and slide off than go inside the box.
• Do not site nest boxes too close to feeders or bird tables. The noise will disturb breeding pairs and the food attracts predators.
• Nest boxes for tits, sparrows or starlings should be fixed 2-4 metres up a tree or a wall.
• Open-fronted boxes for robins and wrens need to be low down, below 2 metres, well hidden in vegetation.
• Boxes for Spotted flycatchers need to be 2-4 metres high, sheltered by vegetation but with a clear outlook.
• Woodpecker boxes need to be 3-5 metres high on a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance.
• If your area has a particularly high cat population you must choose a high location.
Here’s our top picks of Nest Boxes: