It's Nesting Time
Michaela's Green Scene
the Barnyard is busy in a regular tizzy and the obvious
reason is because of the season.
My nature’s lyrical
It’s her yearly miracle
It’s spring, spring, spring"
Yes spring is well and truly on the way. Hooray! (By
the way, for those of you unfamiliar with old musical
films, that line was from a song from Seven Brides
For Seven Brothers!).
Anyway, gone are the cold wintry months when the only
bird you’d hear singing his little heart out in
the garden was the faithful robin; now they’re
all at it, the tits, the finches, the wrens and blackbirds.
Now is the time they’re all thinking about the
pattering of tiny feet and this is the last opportunity
for you to get those bird boxes out.
Now I’ve always thought that perfectly manicured
gardens are very attractive, I’ve always admired
the amount of hard work invested in them. I have a small
walled garden in the heart of Clifton in Bristol, and
I’m afraid ‘manicured’ is not the
word that springs to mind!
Many friends think it’s because I’m too
busy or too lazy to get my gardening gloves on and spend
hours on my hands and knees weeding. And while there
might be just an ounce of truth in that accusation,
it’s also because my aim is to attract as much
wildlife into the garden as possible. Mind you, after
reading the other articles in greenfingers.com, who
knows - I may well be inspired to tidy it up a bit.
But, back to the subject of the birds and the bees!
Bird boxes can be in all shapes and sizes, from your
gran’s old kettle to a state of the art three-holed
fancy tit box. We put about 10 out three years ago.
The most popular one has been a rather unattractive
modern-looking woodcrete model. There really is no accounting
for taste in the feathered world!
The different types of boxes are:
If you’ve got a larger garden you can even get boxes
for kestrels, owls, woodpeckers and parakeets.
Most boxes are made out of wood and they are more attractive
than the ones made out of woodcrete, a mixture of concrete
and sawdust. This is the type, however, that has been
most successful in my garden. They are waterproof, long
lasting and more impenetrable. You can of course make
a nest box, but not being a great craftsman myself, I
would suggest buying one!
You should remember to do a bit of maintenance on your
boxes later in the year if they have been used. Remove
any old nest in the autumn and if necessary clean the
box with boiling water. This kills any parasites. Do not
since these could harm young chicks.
Spread your boxes out and position the entrance away from
the prevailing wind and never facing upwards. Also position
away from direct sunlight. If you get cats in your garden
make sure you position the box well out of their reach.
Remember that cats in Britain are thought to kill up to
70 million birds every year!
However many boxes you put out, there will always be a
few bohemian birds that will pick a completely unexpected
site to nest. Robins have been found nesting in old wellies
and watering cans, blue tits in street lamps, redstarts
in a mail box, even an old desk was used by tits that
entered through the ink well! But wherever your opportunistic
garden birds choose to nest, you’ll have a lot of
pleasure watching them.
Happy bird watching and stay gardening wild!
See also the Helping Hand workshop:
to encourage birds into your garden
reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com