National nest box week 14 to 21 February
This year, Valentines day is the first day of national nest box week (NNBW) organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Jacobi Jayne and Company. NNBW is in it's 10th year now and has become an essential part of the ornithological calendar. Whether you make your own nest box or you buy one, everyone can get involved and give a brood a new home this year.
As agricultural land and hedgerows become less each year our nations wild birds are always going to need a helping hand to get their breeding season into gear. The RSPB big garden bird watch took place earlier this month and we eagerly await the results to be published, you can still register your results with them until 16th February. From the study of previous years we can see that certain species of wild bird are in trouble.
in particular has declined by 80% since the 1980's, this decline is a mystery, so even though they are not the most favoured of garden bird visitors, do be patient with the Starlings in your back yard.
The House Sparrow
has seen significant loss in numbers since the 1970's and like the Starling, the reasons are not known, although I have a feeling they might be on the increase this year - we shall see.
has seen massive decline since 2000 due to the disease Trichomonosis, this can be reduced by regular cleaning of the feeders and occasionally moving the feeding location to avoid build up of droppings. See our help and advice page
on the disease.
The beautiful Song Thrush
is also sadly reducing in number, mainly due to changes in the management of countryside hedgerows. Thrushes love fruit and suet as well as live worms, so placing a ground feeder on your lawn is perfect way to feed them with a mixture of seeds, fruit and suet, our Blackbird and Thrush mix
is just the ticket for these ground feeding wild birds.
So the NNBW is a great way to help these birds survive and a rewarding pastime to watch the results of your labour when the nest box becomes occupied and a brood of chicks is first heard.
Remember two important things about nest boxes.
1. Face the nest box towards the North East, this will give the best occupancy rates.
2, Never open or disturb the nest box when occupied, the adult may well desert the nest and the chicks or eggs will not survive. If you want to see what is going on inside the nest box you can use a camera system