From 14th to 21st February, it is National Nest Box Week, the time of year when birds traditionally begin to pair up for the forthcoming breeding season.

Since 1997 the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has been encouraging people to put up nest boxes and help provide nesting opportunities for a variety of garden birds.

Helping Our Feathered Friends

By putting up a nest box you can help a variety of your feathered friends, including Starlings, House Sparrows and Blue Tits. In fact, more than 60 species of bird are known to use nest boxes.

The reasoning behind erecting a nest box may seem obvious, but there’s a lot more to it than simply providing warmth and security for a single pair of birds, as the BTO’s Dave Leech explains: “Putting nest boxes up in your garden during National Nest Box Week may increase the number of birds that are able to breed there, with obvious local benefits. By monitoring the contents, however, you can extend the reach of your actions far beyond your own backyard – data on the numbers of eggs and chicks produced each year help us to understand how birds across the UK are coping with a rapidly changing climate and radical changes to habitat, including the impacts of urbanisation.

Volunteer nest recorders help us to predict who the winners and losers will be and, even more importantly, why; understanding the mechanisms underlying population declines is the vital first step towards addressing the problem.”

Monitoring Nest Boxes

As well as providing spaces for birds to nest, installing a nest box during National Nest Box Week provides the opportunity to gather vital information about birds and their breeding success. As well as being gratifying and enjoyable, it provides invaluable data that supports conservation efforts.

You can submit your data to the British Trust for Ornithology via their Nesting Neighbours and Nest Record Schemes. By following the Code of Conduct, you can ensure the rewarding experience of monitoring birds and their nests without impacting on bird welfare.

Monitoring nests for the BTO has never been easier, says Hazel Evans from the BTO: “Any nest of any species can be monitored, including those nesting outside boxes, such as Blackbirds and Collared Doves, as long as you can look inside to count the eggs and chicks. The welfare of the birds must come first so it is vital to follow the Code of Conduct on the BTO website at all times.”

To record your findings, visit the BTO website.

The British Trust for Ornithology

The British Trust for Ornithorlogy (BTO) is the UK’s leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK.

The BTO’s work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

Find out more.

Van Hage at PE1

For over 50 years Van Hage has established itself as a leading name in the garden and leisure industry, winning a number of prestigious awards.

With friendly and knowledgeable staff, innovative products and exciting seasonal attractions, Van Hage at PE1 is a familiar landmark for the local community and a welcome excursion for visitors from further afield.

Van Hage has a great selection of nest boxes, bird tables and bird feeding accessories to help you encourage and monitor birds during National Nest Box Week.

See Van Hage’s range of nest boxes.

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