|Nest box by Noah Walker|
Having made nearly 100 passerine bird boxes and 5 raptor boxes I started putting them up in January. I started by putting up 20 in the nearest site on the top of Folly hill (a 2 minute cycle ride away). The main target species are Great Tits and Blue Tits, with a chance of Coal Tits and, if I'm really lucky, Nuthatches. For the Blue Tits and Great Tits I put the bird boxes in the normal sites on trees around 4m up with a bit of cover or foliage nearby. For the Coal Tits I tried to put them in denser coniferous areas with slightly more vegetation in front and higher up. There are also several Robin nest boxes that instead of encouraging Robins got a Spotted Flycatcher nesting in one last year, which will hopefully nest again this year.
|Great Tit nest by Bob Coyle|
|Tawny Owl by John Black|
Through the spring and summer I'll check the ones near me and in my village every weekend along with open nests, and the ones near Oxford every week to a fortnight. Every time I'll note the stage of the nests - whether it is being built, adults are incubating eggs or if there are young how well developed they are. Hopefully I can ask my Ringing trainer to come over to ring the Spotted Flycatchers and any interesting bird box nests like Nuthatches. Along with them there are the raptor boxes for the owls but also open nests of Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel to monitor and maybe ring.
It's National Nest Box Week this week so why not build or buy a box of your own to put up? The Nest Record Scheme have produced a "quick start guide" so download that and you'll be all set to start nest recording too!
Noah Walker, @NoahWal01