Handy tips: where to site a nest box

Spring may be on the way, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to put up a nest box ready for the breeding season and beyond. Blue tits, for instance, will not begin their earnest search for a nesting site until either February or March, so there’s time still.

What should you do?

There are two main considerations when siting a nest box: first, you must choose an appropriate nest box for the specific species of bird you wish to attract; and secondly you must find the right location in your garden for the box. If you’re attracting Tits, Sparrows or Starlings, for instance, it is essential to locate the box two or four metres up a wall or tree. Robins and Wrens are slightly different, as nest boxes for these species are better lower down, below 2m, well hidden amongst protective vegetation, and have open fronts. Woodpeckers will need a box located between 3m and 5m on the side of a tree.

Predators can be a possible risk factor, as cats, being nimble climbers, could potentially access your nest boxes. Make sure you site your box in a location safe from cats (and squirrels, which can be deterred using a metal hole around the entrance).

Avoid direct sunlight

Unless you’re absolutely certain there will be shade covering the entrance to the nest box, do not install it facing sunlight, as this could be damaging to your garden birds. To be safe, face the nest box in a north easterly direction. This will give you the best chance of avoiding strong winds and intense sunlight.

Also consider tipping the nest box forward slightly to prevent rain water from entering, and possibly flooding, the nest box.

Checklist

  1. Find the right place ü
  2. Find the right box ü
  3. Keep out of direct sunlight ü
  4. Provide a clear flight path ü
  5. Tilt the box to avoid the rain getting in ü
  6. Keep out of reach of predators ü