Best place to site a nestbox

Hi,

Just looking for a bit of advice on the best place to site nestboxes, the usual, tit boxes, robin etc.  I have had two boxes up for 5 years, and whilist I get plenty of viewings we have had only one pair actually use the boxes. I have a small/medium sized garden and space is a bit limited.  I understand that the Autumn is a good time to put the boxes up, so would welcome any advice.

Many thanks......

  • Hi Nightowl

    Thanks for posting this up as I have some boxes also and am hoping for advices on best sitings. Ideally for me, fairly low down and on the walls of the house /  fence would be helpful so that I am able to reach them for cleaning etc.

    The necessity of bird-watching is a really good reason for avoiding all forms of housework.

    The dust will still be there tomorrow - the birds may not be!

  • Hi all! Siting of a nestbox really depends on the species you are hoping to attract - e.g. tit boxes need to be between 2 and 4m up on a wall or fence, whereas robin boxes should be lower down, in good cover - this replicates how they would nest in the wild, tits nest in holes in trees and robins prefer to nest in shrubs and hedgerows

    Generally though, they should be facing somewhere between north and east to avoid direct sunlight and prevailing winds and rain - you can find everything you need to know on the RSPB website here

     

    Help swifts by letting us know what they're up to - fill in the 2010 survey

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to LRB:

    Great advice LRB

    I have 2 bird boxes (1 bought and 1 made one) which where unsuccessful last year and I think that was down to have them set up in the wrong place. 

    So we will be a little more careful this year.

    Regards

    Kathy and Dave

    Liz R said:

    Hi all! Siting of a nestbox really depends on the species you are hoping to attract - e.g. tit boxes need to be between 2 and 4m up on a wall or fence, whereas robin boxes should be lower down, in good cover - this replicates how they would nest in the wild, tits nest in holes in trees and robins prefer to nest in shrubs and hedgerows

    Generally though, they should be facing somewhere between north and east to avoid direct sunlight and prevailing winds and rain - you can find everything you need to know on the RSPB website here

     

     

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Another thing to bear in mind about whether or not the box is used is habitat!
    In well manged gardens and surrounds there may be lots of natural nest sites which birds are using in preference.

    Conversely, it could be the habitat in the gardens and surroundings does not supply the birds with enough natural food and therefore they are choosing to nest elsewhere that does!

    Besides the aspect requirements described by LRB, there are two other things to consider when putting a nestbox up:
    1 - Is there enough natural food nearby? You can help the birds by putting out food for them, but chicks need lots of insects to get the full range of high protein food to develop bones and feathers. If this is not available within a few 100 yards of the nest site and the parents have to go further to forage on maybe poor quality food this will reduce the chances of fledging. You might consider providing mealworms, but they alone are not the answer - you would not expect to be particularly healthy if you or your children fed exclusively on takeaways? That is why it is best to grow a variety of different trees, shrubs and flowering plants in your garden to provide the diversity of natural foods that birds need and you can supplement that by putting out additonal foods.

    2 - The other consideration for nest boxes is to target those species in most need. It is great to watch blue and great tits especially going back and forth with food to their young. I get a lot of personal enjoyment from watching this as do 1000's of other people. But their populations are going through the roof, whereas birds such as house sparrow and starling are declining. Where possible take this into consideration and locate boxes in suitable places for the target species and with suitable sized holes. For sparrow that would be high under the eaves of the house and a 32mm hole, and for starling high on a mature tree or on the side of the house away from  any windows and doors. Use a 45mm hole for starling and the box need to be a third larger than a conventional box. See the link here:
    http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/nestboxes/index.asp

    While its still quite likely a tit can and will use a box intended for sparrows, at least providing the right size hole and locating it in the right place you have given the sparrow a chance. If the numbers of birds (sparrows) start to build up you can add more boxes at about 1.5m spacings to each other.

    If you've not done so already, why not sign up to Homes for Wildlife and get all the latest info to turn your garden into a natural restaurant for birds!

    Is yours a Home for Wildlife?
    Make your home and garden a better place for you and the wildlife that visits it. Click here and sign up today  http://www.rspb.org.uk/hfw/

  • In reply to John Day:

    Hi John

    I would dearly love to provide a community home for sparrows - however, if it is high under the eaves of the house there is no way I would ever be able to reach it to clean it out so does that requirement make it a non-viable proposition for folk like me?

    The necessity of bird-watching is a really good reason for avoiding all forms of housework.

    The dust will still be there tomorrow - the birds may not be!

  • In reply to John Day:

    Another thing to remember is that tits and sparrows are not territorial against each other, and so you can put up a box with 25mm hole for blue tits AND 32mm hole for sparrows, and provided the habitat is right, both boxes may well be occupied. One bird that many people forget about is the swift. Providing suitable entrance holes to the eaves or purpose made boxes high up at the eaves may well attract this herald of summer to your house.

  • In reply to Trochilus:

    I live in a bungalow and have put up a sparrow triple box up in the eaves. It is only about 8ft off the ground yet the birds are using it. I know they use it for shelter and see no reason why they will not nest in it(hopefully). I have had little success with nest boxes, only 1 out of 5 boxes used successfully last year. The ungrateful birds come to me to feed and go next door to nest. I pruned my neighbour's shrubs and hedges in september(she is unable to do it herself) and found 1 Dunnock, 1 blackbird and a wren's nest. The latter was a fantastic thing to behold. Back to sparrows, when I moved in 5 years ago I only had 2-3 sparrows now the flock is about 25-30. I put it down to all year feeding and people putting up nestboxes.

    This world is not ours but only in trust for future generations.

  • Hi Nightowl,

                          If you have a robin nest box place it in a hedgerow about 3ft from the ground.

                          If you have a tit box place it on the side of your house or on a fence (about 5-7ft of ground)

     

                                  Coal

    Birding , Birding, Birding !

  • In reply to Trochilus:

    I took great care, when making our new swift box, to position the hole on the underside to avoid starlings using it. It has been a sparrow roost all winter. I'm considering taping the hole up till the swifts come.

  • In reply to John Day:

    Thanks for that info John.  I have had blue tits nesting in a box on and off for 10 years.  They use an old battered box.  I put a new one up as the roof of the old one was falling apart and I could not fit a new roof on but they don't seem to like the new one.  I also have about 10 pairs of House Sparrows visiting the garden and staying most of the time in a hedge on the west facing side of the house. They seem to breed locally as they bring the youngster into the garden for the food.  Two years ago I put up a terraced nest box for them not far from the hedge on the back of the house on a north facing wall and they have totally ignored it ,  Should I move it around the corner to the west facing side?

    I'm always look forward to seeing the wonderful green of the leaf buds coming into life you don't see any other time of year and the first swallow around the 15th April.  Spring, Spring Spring.