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Britain needs more holes!

?there is a housing crisis in natural nest sites

Come springtime, love is in the air, at least for our garden birds. They will be pairing up and looking for somewhere to build their nests, but there is a housing crisis! Natural nest sites, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. National Nest Box Week, organised by the BTO and sponsored by Jacobi Jayne & Co., is launched every year on 14 February and aims to encourage members of the public to erect nest boxes in their gardens.

More of the UK is garden than nature reserve and so gardens form an incredibly important habitat for the nation’s birds. However, with our modern desire for tidy, organised gardens and perfect houses, birds are missing out on the places they traditionally nest. Ivy covered walls, holes under the eaves of roofs, these are places birds like to nest, but they are rapidly disappearing. So, what can we do to help? Launched in 1997, National Nest Box Week highlights the need for people to provide nesting places for the UK’s garden birds. The simple act of putting up a box in a suitable place can make the spring for a pair of birds looking to raise a family. Different types of boxes attract different species, and once used, can attract birds year after year.

[More than 60 species of birds have been recorded using nest boxes. Most commonly, Blue and Great Tits will use the typical round hole design, while Robins, Blackbirds and Spotted Flycatchers prefer open-fronted boxes.]

“Nest boxes are incredibly easy to build or buy and can make a huge difference to the lives of our garden birds. In return you get the enjoyment of watching them raise a family. Blue Tits love them, but depending on where you are in the country you could get all manner of species moving in”, says Jeff Baker, the BTO’s organiser of National Nest Box Week. “It’s not just birds either, each year we get reports of bats using them to roost in too. So why not provide a home and just watch what happens?”National Nest Box Week runs from 14 to 21 February and is organised by the BTO together with the founding sponsor, Jacobi Jayne & Company. This particular week was chosen because according to tradition, Valentine’s Day is the day birds start pairing up before settling down to nest.

NB Copies of the The BTO Nestbox Guide can be obtained for £8.99 (including p&p) from Jacobi Jayne & Co, Freepost 1155, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7BR or call Freephone 0800 072 0130. An information pack about nest boxes is also available from this address. The official website of National Nest Box Week is http://www.livingwithbirds.com

For further information: Graham Appleton or Martin Fowlie on 01842 750050 or email press@bto.org (during office hours) or Jeff Baker on 01842 750050 or email jeff.baker@bto.org (during office hours)

4th July 2014