Two questions I need to ask my expert birders !
1) We have 7 nesting boxes fixed to different mature Oak trees in our garden; last year, although the boxes had only been up one month, 4 became active with Blue Tits nesting, however GSW scared off three of them (fortunately before two had laid and another with just 3 eggs in it) but were successful with the one nearest our house where at least 10 nestlings went on to fledge :) We have since cleaned out all the boxes, bought new boxes for the ones GSW destroyed and added the metal entrance hole covers. This leads me to wondering .............. I notice the BTs marked their entrance, as is common with them, but since the metal plate has been fixed .......... how do they then identify their nesting box or mark it ? !! Or do they settle for marking the inside rim ?
2) As we live in a wooded area with large garden, we were thinking about adding an Owl nesting box. I know nothing about the placement for these and I don't fancy climbing up into a 100ft. Oak tree too fix one LOL We have had one mature Oak cut down on our boundary fence area and was wondering if it was possible to use the flat surface of the 15ft. - 20ft tree stump to fix the rather long owl box into position. I think there are other types of Owl box which I must investigate but any advice on best fixing position, etc., would be much appreciated. I have heard Owls in the area on occasion so it would be wonderful to provide a home for one.
Thanks for any advice you can give me.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
The stump may be suitable , Hazy. Take a look here www.rspb.org.uk/.../index.aspx
and here http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=42
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In reply to Galatas:
Much appreciated Galatas, have had a look at both links and the height of our stump seems ok.......... now if I can just get hubby to knock up a box, we'll be in business LOL ! The siting of the box will be no problem facing SE as that direction also has a clear flight path albeit through spaced out mature Oak trees.
In reply to HAZY:
There's a little more to it than "knocking up a box The Barnowl Trust pages have all the info required.
I hope you are succesful , Hazy. Three Tawny owl chicks fledged at a local reserve this year. They were one of the most delightful sights I've ever seen. galatas.smugmug.com/.../12415462_47Lq3g
lovely photos Galatas, there is something mystical/magical about owls and they are fascinating creatures the way they can turn their head around 270 degrees and their silent flight ! I really want to read more on them and also the correct ways to go about building a nesting box and all the other vital info. Thanks again :)
In reply to doggie:
I agree Alan, Wish I would have had Ebony nesting boxes made whilst I was living in Tanzania as I think they would have broken their beak before they got through that wood LOL I will have to think of other ways to add some protection. I don't want stuff that would harm the birds such as wire meshing, etc.,
Thanks Alan, problem is our nesting boxes are on mature oak tree trunks which are not flat surface to fix and want to try to get the protection as aesthetically looking as poss. Call me fussy LOl !! great idea though and may be able to adapt this method to fit the trunk. Would chicken wire be harmful if cut and fitted flat to the box without any rough edges sticking out ? Metal armour is no good (unless as you say, it is done in manufacturing in-between two sheets of wood) as it gets too hot in the warmer months so it's certainly proving a conundrum protecting things from predators lol !! thanks again for all your help, its most useful :)
Ok, thanks, will work on reinforcing that way I think, however, I still love the idea with the hanging baskets, quite a clever way of keeping the GSW's out !
After my camera nest box was broken into last year by a GSW and all but one of the chicks were taken I used the hanging basket idea to cover it this year. It's not a very elegant solution but you can see what it looked like in this photo. It's in the background behind the parakeets. I actually used two to try to keep the opening size small enough.
The problem with the nest boxes you buy these days is that they are made of western red cedar which although weather resistant is a very soft wood and is easy for woodpeckers to penetrate.
If you've already bought replacements it may be a bit late but in future you could consider the so called "woodcrete" ones. They can be seen here. I don't think a woodpecker would break into these.
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In reply to TeeJay:
Hi TJ, thanks for the photo and the idea of the hanging basket, as Alan also suggests, does look like the best solution if only I can adapt it round the nobbly oak tree as the box is fixed on to the trunk and I don't want gaps at the edges. They seem great for hanging nest boxes though. Like to keep the one nearest our house as it was really loved by the Blue Tits that successfully nested there last year. Do you know if the markings they make at the entrance, (I guess as an identity thing and to warn other birds its already LET !) is vital ? I might have to give them an engraving pen for the metal protector plate unless they have another place they favour marking on the box LOL By the way, the photos are great, just love those parakeets :)
I honestly don't know what the pecking around the hole entrance signifies. It's always seemed to me to be just impulsive behaviour but it may be some sort of territorial thing - I just don't know. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much, birds seem to have a way of sorting things out for themselves.
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