It’s National Nest Box Week! With the breeding season fast approaching, February is the perfect time to put up a nest box. Am-Tech are encouraging all enthusiastic DIYers to support this important scheme by providing simple information on how you can construct your own bird box. You can share your creation on their Facebook page. Kids and adults alike can get hours of entertainment from watching what’s going on in their bird box. You can even buy camera systems that send a live feed from inside the bird box to your home computer or TV!
Nest Box Materials
Wood: Most nest boxes are made out of wood; commercial boxes might use Woodcrete a combination of sawdust and concrete. Wood is the most suitable material as it allows the box to breath, maintain an ambient temperature and therefore avoid overheating and condensation. For long lasting boxes consider using hardwoods such as beech or oak, and avoid treated wood that may leach chemicals and harm birds. The wood used should be at least 15mm thick to provide good insulation.
Nails and Screws: Use galvanized or stainless steel nails to prevent rusting.
Drainage: A couple of holes in the base of the box are necessary to allow drainage should rain get in.
Hole Size: Depending on the birds you wish to attract (and what is most likely to visit your garden) the size of the hole is critical:
• 25 mm for blue, coal and marsh tits
• 28 mm for great tits, tree sparrows and pied flycatchers
• 32 mm for house sparrows and nuthatches
• 45 mm for starlings
Access: You’ll need to be able to clean out the nest box at times, so attach a waterproof hinge to the roof to make this possible.
Perch: Don’t add a perch as this could allow access to a predator, and they are not necessary for birds to get in and out.
How To Make A Nest Box
Step 1: Measure and mark out your plank of wood using the figures for either a small or large box and then, using a handsaw, cut to size.
Step 2: Drill drainage holes in the base of the box. A 3-5mm wood drill bit is big enough.
Step 3: Using a hole saw, drill the bird’s access hole according to the size of species you wish to attract. The hole should be at least 125mm above the floor of the nest box so that chicks do not fall out.
Step 4: Assemble the base and sides of the nest box, fixing them with nails or screws.
Step 5: Attach the roof using a waterproof hinge such a rubber strip nailed to the back of the box and the roof. For extra security attach a clasp to prevent predators from opening the box.
All the tools you need to make your bird box can be bought securely online at www.amtechtools.com (handsaw, wood drill bit, hole saw and nails or screws).
The National Nest Box Week is a scheme devised by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).