Bird boxes used in autumn/winter.

I've been watching a blue tit for months now & he keeps going in & out of the bird box.Last spring it was used by blue tits & they successfully raised a family.Im in Bedfordshire & this morning we have a hard frost & I'm wondering do birds use these boxes in bad weather to store food & shelter from the cold ??

Regards Lisa

  • Yes, Lisa, tits will often use them to roost in over the winter. They are unlikely to store food in them as far as I know. If you haven't cleaned them it's a good time to do it. This helps to keep parasites down when they build their nests in the spring.

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    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    I agree with Tony, every Autumn i clean out 40 bird boxes on the local Devon Wildlife site which i carried out last week. This process also tells us whether the box was used what the nest was made of and if the nest was successful. 2014 was a bad year with a wet and cold snap in the spring. Young chicks perished and some nests were deserted. This spring was a good one with 75% of the nest boxes used no eggs or chicks found suggesting all birds fledged. One Nuthatch nest, the rest were used by Tits and one of the boxes used by Hornets with the box overwhelmed by an intricate Hornets nest, this was a surprise when i opened the lid, thankfully no hornets home!!.  Birds do use them to roost. I saw one box used by Wrens. We counted 15 birds leave one box, they must have been well snuggled up over night. This continued over a cold spell several years ago, and was at the in-laws not on the Reserve.

  • In reply to Derek C:

    Hi Lisa, after having a cam nestbox up unused for two years, last October time a BT used it to roost in ... no nest materials were brought in, just the bare box which became well covered in poo by Spring!  Suddenly it started to prepare a nest & I was very excited ... after a week it left & never returned!  Some weeks later a male House Sparrow took over & cleared  all the BT nst materials!  Again I was hopeful but Spadger never made a nest ... spent most of the Summer perched on roof of box or on TV aerial just above constantly trying to attract a mate but was never successful!

    This box is on wall just above my bedroom window & I can hear noises if bird enters, also have a tiny laptop handy to plug cam in to check progress ... nothing yet!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

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  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Hi Tony,yes I always clean my bird boxes out.This blue tit is fascinating to watch going in & out of the box I definitely think he's claimed it for himself.

    Regards Lisa

  • Hi Lisa,

    I was curios if over the winter you need to remove your cameras out of your bird boxes?