It's National Nest Box Week! To celebrate, we've rounded-up our top five nest boxes that will help boost Britain's bird population and create much-needed homes for thousands of species.
You might be asking yourself whether birds really need more places to nest; the answer is absolutely! Speaking about the struggles facing the UK bird population, TV wildlife presenter Nick Baker says:
“Holes are the big thing missing from today’s manicured parks and gardens. No holes mean no hole-nesting birds. Putting a box up simply replaces what humans have taken away.”
“Think back to all those natural cavities that would have existed in the wild woods standing where your garden is now. Every bird box represents a missing piece of that ancient natural architecture. And you really can’t put up too many of the things.”
In order to help our feathered friends, we've scoured the market for the best bird boxes out there. Whether you're on a budget and want to do your bit, or you're a passionate Ornithologist who wants to create a high-tech viewing experience, there's something for everyone!
Nest boxes vary in shape and size according to the needs of different birds. According to the RSPB, these are the entrance hole requirements for common garden birds:
- 25mm for coal tits, marsh tits and blue tits
- 28mm for great tits and tree sparrows
- 32mm for nuthatches and house sparrows
- A starling box needs to be 25-30% larger with an entrance 45 mm across
- A small box with 100mm high open front may attract robins or pied wagtails.
- A wren would need a 140mm high front panel
- Spotted flycatchers prefer a low 60mm front to the box
Stockholm nest box, £8.99, CJ Wildlife
This nest box from CJ Wildlife is ideal if you want to disguise it amongst your garden's natural foliage. Choose from a range of different holes between 28mm and 34mm, or even oval-holed and open nest boxes.
Wild bird nesting box, £3, Wilko
At just £3, this nest box is a complete steal. It features a gap in the base to help keep the nest clean; plus, you can also convert it into an open nest box by removing the front panel.
Apple nester, £3.99, CJ Wildlife
Simply fill this apple nester with organic nesting wool, fur, or moss and help your local birds find a nice warm nesting material.
Swift nesting box, £29.99, Waitrose
Swifts have seen a 51% decrease in their breeding numbers in the UK between 1995 and 2015, making them an amber-listed species.
According to the RSPB, one of the main difficulties facing Swifts is the loss of nest sites. These migrant birds return from their wintering grounds in Africa to the same spot each year to breed – usually in buildings, in gaps under roof tiles and eaves. Due to our tendency to seal up buildings during renovation or knock them down, swifts are returning to discover their nest site has gone or access is blocked.
This nesting house from Waitrose could be a vital step towards incresing their breeding numbers! Mount the box as high as possible with an unimpeded flight path so baby swifts can freefall when flying the nest.
Wireless CMOS Bird Box Camera Kit, £39.29, UK Wildlife Cameras
For the keen twitcher, this camera bird box kit is a great way to learn from your nesting friends.
Featuring a wireless camera with colour, audio, night vision and wide angle lens, simply set it up within an existing nest box and you've got your very own Springwatch!