And don’t worry, local businesses have sponsored these nest boxes, so the money isn’t coming out of your parish share.
Here are some useful tips on where to put up your bird box, and how to look after it.
- Put your nest box up asap, so it weathers and birds will be acclimatised to it by nesting season.
- Site nest boxes so that they are sheltered from the wind, rain and strong sunlight. If they are in full sun, the chicks could overheat and die.
- Position boxes 1 - 4m above ground for safety from predators and to replicate natural nesting habits.
If you are fixing your box to a tree try not to damage the trunk. Ideally, secure it with a strap.
- It's important that the chicks have somewhere to perch when they first leave the nest, so put the box near some smaller branches that won't hold the weight of larger predators, but will support fledglings.
- Avoid putting up boxes in busy areas of the garden, such as near a bird table or feeders. Robins and wrens in particular look for nesting sites in good cover.
- Don't line the box, birds will do this themselves. Leave pet or your own hair out in spring for them to collect. Don't leave out knitting wool or man-made fibres as these can be dangerous.
- Bird boxes should be cleaned out in the autumn when there's no risk of disturbing the occupants. Diseases and parasites can easily spread to new occupants.
- Clean the box out with boiling water or buy specialised cleaning products.
- Your box might not be used in the first year, as birds often choose a nesting site during the autumn, winter or early spring. Persevere — leaving your box up in winter may provide a useful roost in bad weather.