The garden birds nesting season starts in the UK in February so there will probably be plenty of birds looking for a place to hatch their eggs this year. The long-tailed tit and blackbirds are the earliest nesters, with Blue Tits and Robins nesting in March, and Sparrows settling into their nests in April.
So, now is the ideal time to get some bird boxes up in the garden, ready for your local garden birds to discover them and begin building a nest inside. Many birds, such as Blue Tits, will begin investigating possible nest sites in February.
If you want to make a new box from scratch, here are some DIY bird box instructions from the RSBP. Or, if you’ve got some nesting boxes that are looking a little worse-for-wear, don’t worry – I’ve put together this quick video to show you how to revamp them:
You will need:
- Outdoor paint
- Masking tape
After you’ve refreshed your bird boxes with some colourful designs you can hang them around the garden. It’s a good idea to leave lots of space around the bird boxes so that the birds don’t get territorial and make sure there’s a tree, bush or foliage nearby to provide coverage.
The best places to hang bird boxes are:
- Facing north-east for Robins and Blue Tits
- Two to four metres high for Blue Tits, Starlings, Spotted Flycatchers and Sparrows
- Less than two metres high if it’s an open-fronted box for Robins, Wrens or Pied Wagtails
- Tilt the boxes forward slightly so that driving rain can’t get into the hole
- Hang multiple boxes for colonial nesters like House Martins, Tree Sparrows and House Sparrows, who are happy to share a territory.
Here’s a nest that we found inside one of our bird boxes after the breeding season had finished at the end of last year. It was sadly abandoned – we had noticed that the Blue Tits had stopped visiting it earlier in the year – but at least the birds had a cosy place to make their nest and maybe they’ll be more successful this year.
Let me know if you have a go at decorating your own colourful bird boxes this year. We’ve had birds visiting all of our weird and wonderful designs so it just goes to show that they don’t really mind what’s on the outside – and it means you can match your colours to your garden or go for something really fun!