Put up a nest box to help garden birds recover from a poor breeding season
It’s fast approaching the time of year when you have to give a bit of thought to the birds and the bees. Do your bit for the procreation of bird species and build a love nest for our feathered friends in time for National Nest Box Week that starts on February 14.
Valentine's Day 2013 will see the start of the sixteenth annual National Nest Box Week (NNBW), organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and sponsored by Jacobi Jayne, during which people across the UK are being asked to put up nest boxes for our birds.
The summer of 2012 proved to be one of the worst breeding seasons on record for many of our most familiar birds. With rainfall totals for April and June being the highest ever recorded, many species struggled to raise young.
With caterpillars in short supply – a result of the cool, wet weather – blue and great tits fledged fewer chicks, 13% and 18% respectively, the second lowest productivity recorded for great tit in almost 50 years. The poor 2012 season could have a lasting effect. Many fewer young birds fledged, and the recent freezing conditions and snow cover in some areas won't have helped the survival rates of those that did.
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Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
It's not all bad news though. Many of our smaller birds, like the blue and great tit, are able to produce large numbers of young and so have the capacity to bounce back quickly after a single bad year. All they need is somewhere warm and safe to build a nest, and some kind spring weather.
Paul Stancliffe, British Trust for Ornithology, said, "Putting a nest box up is one of the easiest of things that we can do to help. Whether it is a homemade box or a specially designed box that has been purchased, the joy of seeing it occupied is exactly the same. Even if it isn't used to raise a brood of youngsters it could still be used as a safe warm overnight roost. So go on, put up a nest box this National Nest Box Week and do your bit to help."
NNBW aims to encourage everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.
Whether you're a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract.
More than 60 species of birds have been recorded using nest boxes. Most commonly, blue and great tits, house sparrows and starlings will use the typical round hole design, while robins and spotted flycatchers prefer open-fronted boxes. House sparrows, starlings and spotted flycatchers are all red-listed species.
Visit the National Nest Box Week website for more information on nesting birds, choosing bird boxes, or building your own. NNBW is organised in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology and Jacobi Jayne http://www.livingwithbirds.com/