Choosing the right nesting box is important for wild birds. It will also give you more insight into the species you can expect to see visiting your garden. For instance, most wild birds use nesting boxes to raise their young safely, but did you know some bird species will live in a nest box all year round? We also advise on where to place nesting boxes, what birds a nesting box attracts and the ideal sizes for certain species.
How does a nest box benefit wild birds?
A nesting box gives wild birds shelter from predators and bad weather. A nest box offers them comfort to build a nest where they can start a family in peace. Furthermore, having nesting boxes in your garden gives wild birds a place in your garden to call home. It is also worth pointing out that some birds even use nesting boxes after the nesting season has ended. However, any nesting box put up before the end of February will likely be occupied over the nesting season.
Choosing the best nesting boxes for your garden
Many wild birds will happily use nesting boxes, but this doesn’t mean you can expect to see every UK bird species using them. This is because many birds prefer living in trees and hedgerows. So, don’t be alarmed if they won’t flock towards your newly mounted nest boxes!
Be aware that birds often like to observe the area before building a nest to be sure it’s safe.
Do nesting boxes come in different sizes?
Nesting boxes come in various sizes with different entrance hole diameters to suit different wild bird species. For example, an entrance hole of 26-28mm is desirable for tree sparrows, tits, and other smaller birds. Whereas nesting boxes with a 32mm hole are perfect for larger native birds like house sparrows and great tits. Robins, however, even though they are smaller than sparrows, require an open-ended nesting box with a larger hole so they can see out.
How big does the entrance hole need to be:
- A small box with a 100mm high open front end is ideal for attracting robins and pied wagtails. These birds like a larger entrance that offers them great visibility.
- Primarily suited to the smallest of tit species, a 25mm entrance hole is ideal for bluetits, coal tits and marsh tits.
- The slightly larger 28mm entrance is good for great tits and tree sparrows. But it is also fine for smaller birds like blue tits, coal tits, and marsh tits
- The larger 32mm entrance hole is versatile for larger birds like house sparrows and nuthatches. Great tits, blue tits, marsh tits, coal tits and crested tits, redstarts, nuthatches, wrynecks and tree sparrows also like this size.
- The largest entrance opening of 45mm is ideal for larger UK garden birds like starlings.
Help with choosing the right nesting box
We have a range of durable and easy-to-clean nesting boxes that come in different styles with various entrance hole sizes. The birds that are most likely to use nesting boxes in the UK are blue tits or coal tits, but sparrows, nuthatches, robins, woodpeckers, wrens, and other species of tits may also call them home.
We have listed a few below to help you decide:
- Snoozy Bird Nest Box: Made from sustainably sourced FSC wood and has a 32mm entrance, this nest box offers comfort, durability, and insulation for birds like blue tits, coal tits, and tree and house sparrows.
- Cosy Bird Nest Box: Ideal for tits and sparrows with its 32mm entrance hole and is handcrafted from sustainably sourced and long-lasting FSC wood to retain heat in the colder months.
- Robin Nest Box: This nesting box is the perfect home for robins. Handcrafted in the UK, it features an open front end and a stylish FSC wood construction. Importantly, it gives robins the visibility, comfort, and warmth they desire.
- Original Woodcrete Nest Box: This nesting box design is created using a unique woodcrete blended material that provides durability and insulation that keeps birds cool in the summer and cosy in the winter. These boxes are also available with a 26mm or 32mm entrance hole. And they come with a lifetime guarantee.
Where to place your nesting boxes
It is best to place nesting boxes on secure surfaces, sheltered from the wind and rain. It’s best to angle it in the UK so the entrance faces northeast. Also, be sure to avoid placing it in any sun traps and or on south-facing walls.
Certain breeds prefer their nests to be different heights away from the ground. For example, it’s best to place nesting boxes for house sparrows 2-4 metres above the ground. Whereas robins prefer open-ended nesting boxes that you should not place any higher than 2 metres.
When do birds start looking for nests?
Wild garden birds will start looking for a new nest during the busiest period of their year – from March to July. Some species of UK birds will begin looking for a new place to call home as early as February, whereas others will nest in the same place all year round and stay in the same area their whole lives.
In ideal circumstances, this works perfectly, and everyone is happy. But nature is not as synchronised as this, and your local wildlife will appreciate any help you can offer them. Little things like providing them nutritious bird food and a place to call home in your garden will make their lives much easier!
A few things to consider when choosing the mounting location:
- Nesting boxes for tits, sparrows or starlings are best mounted between 2-4 metres on a tree or wall.
- Be sure that there are no buildings or trees that are shading the day, and place it facing northeast while avoiding direct sunlight and strong winds.
- Birds need to have a clear flight path to and from the nesting box without any branches or clutter blocking the entrance.
- We also advise you tilt the box forward slightly to ensure rainwater hits the roof and doesn’t go into the entrance hole.
- House sparrows and starlings like their nesting boxes placed high up under the eaves of your roof.
- Both these species nest in loose colonies, meaning a few nest boxes can be spaced out on the same side of your house.
- However, be sure to keep these nest boxes away from areas where house martins would normally nest.
- Remember that if you place two nest boxes close together, you will unlikely get two nesting pairs from the same species.
- Although this often happens in the countryside, it rarely occurs in a garden.
- Species like house sparrows, tree sparrows and house martins live in colonies, enjoy each other’s company, and will happily nest next to each other.
Nesting boxes give wild birds a safe place to call home in your garden
This information should give you the confidence to set up a liveable environment in your garden for wild birds. You can also add bird feeders and a bird bath to encourage more wild birds to visit your garden for enjoyment.
We hope this article has helped you decide what nesting box is ideal. But if you have any other questions, then please let us know.