Cheshire Wildlife Group

  "For those who enjoy the nature around us"

Waterlily Alba Flower Swans with Sygnets Badger by sett- by Sam Goff


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     Activities and DIY

Bird Nesting Box:

Because of trees and hedgerows being removed unnecessarily, as well as older houses having repairs which prevent birds nesting in old crevices, it is therefore necessary for us to supply artificial habitat for them. You can easily buy your own, but it is just as enjoyable and satisfactory to try and make your own little bird house for them to breed and raise their brood within. Not all birds use nest boxes however. Finches are not known to use them, although larger birds like owls can even use special large nest boxes- if you're lucky.

With all bird boxes the same basic rules apply:

Always keep them at the very least 2 metres above the ground because of cats. 

Try to place them away from branches where cats or squirrels can climb and sit near them.

Don't disturb the tree, hedgerow or area where the nestbox is placed. All fence painting, hedge-trimming and tree trimming should be done before March and after August.

Don't put bird feeders too near to them as this can deter breeding and attract larger predatory birds such as Magpies and Jays.

For Sparrows/Tits:

Firstly, a nest box has a hole of a certain diameter. 

A hole of 25mm will allow Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Marsh Tits.

28mm is needed to allow Great Tits

32mm is needed to allow slightly larger birds such as House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows and Nuthatches

Bird box cutting plan

1) Saw and cut 12mm exterior ply wood into all of the dimensions of the pieces on the diagram. 

2) Screw together all of the pieces with short brass screws- these will need to be at about 24mm. Or you could use strong wood glue on the faces to be glued.

3) Screw the hangers on to the back piece of the nest box. Put a screw through the hole in the hanger then screw into the tree, fence or wall. Or thread some thick wire securely through them and secure around the branch or tree trunk. You could also place it in a hedge tightly fitted into some forked branches.

These nest boxes are suitable for small birds such as blue tit / great tit. 12mm exterior ply wood is good to use for the nest box. The roof dimensions allow for an overhang at the sides and front to let water drain away and to keep the interior dry. Make sure that the entrance hole is at least 12.5 cm from the floor of the box to keep the young chicks safe from predators. 

You can use water-based preservatives if you like. But keep any preservative away from the entrance hole, as birds often tap this regularly with their beak before deciding whether to occupy. 

Drill a couple of small holes in the base to keep the nest dry.

Cleaning the box:

In October- November you need to clean out your nestbox. You may have had tenants without knowing! So first, check it is uninhabited. Then, unscrew the fixings or take it off it's tree etc. If you are unable to do this, or your nestbox is permanently attached, then you will have to do it from where it is. Your nestbox should have a roof which opens, if not you will have to pull off the roof to get inside. You will hopefully be greeted by a nest, but you could also find unhatched eggs, egg shells or even dead birds- hopefully you won't! Or you might find the nestbox is empty!

Remove any nesting material or dirt in the box, rinse well inside with very hot/preferably boiling water to kill off any parasites. Don't use chemicals. Replace the lid. If you had feathered tenants this year then put it back securely in the same spot, if not, move it to a place which is perhaps a bit quieter, higher up, or less exposed then hope for the best next year!


Nestboxes for other species coming soon...


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Established by Alex Staniforth February 2009