How to Choose a Bird Box
So you want to create a cosy home for your garden birds? There are a number of garden bird species that will happily set up home in a bird box.
But there are lots of different bird boxes to choose from. It can be difficult to work out which bird box features are necessary. And which could actually do more harm than good.
If you’re keen to welcome nesting birds into your garden, take a look at our handy guide to choosing a bird box:
What should a bird box be made from?
Bird boxes should be made from an insulated material like wood, with walls at least 15mm thick. Stronger woods like cedar or beech will stand up to the elements for a much longer period than pine. You can also preserve your nest box using a non-toxic, water-based treatment on the outside.
What size entrance hole should a bird box have?
Bird boxes come with a variety of different sized entrance holes. The one you choose will depend upon the bird species you want to attract to your garden.
A 32mm entrance hole is ideal for small hole-nesting birds such as sparrows and great tits. A smaller 26mm hole is perfect for blue tits. Bigger birds like starlings will need a hole of at least 45mm. And birds like the robin or the blackbird prefer an open-fronted nest box instead.
Which other bird box features are important?
It’s important to clean bird boxes at the end of every nesting season. This helps to prevent the spread of avian diseases and keep your garden birds healthy. For this reason, the inside of your bird box should be easily accessed. This allows you to dispose of old nesting materials and give the box a thorough clean before installing it in your garden again.
Which bird box features should I avoid?
Bird boxes don’t need a perch. In fact, a perch can help predators gain access to the box and the nest inside. You should also avoid bird boxes with a built-in feeding station. It’s best to keep nest boxes and bird feeders away from each other. That way feeding birds don’t disturb nesting birds.
Once you’ve chosen one, you need to put up your nest box in a suitable place. You should also make your garden attractive to nesting birds. With food, water and shelter in place, there’s no reason why garden birds won’t soon be nesting and raising their young in the bird box you choose.
- Nikki Boxwild