A great way to help birds and bats is to erect nest-boxes.
To be used by immediately by nesting birds or bats, nest-boxes really have to be in place by the end of February. However, it’s never the wrong time of year to make one because:
You can easily buy a nest-box but beware, there's a lot of rubbish about. Only trust solid, simple designs and beware fussy, ornate ones, as they're often useless. Here are some tips:
Making a Nest-box:
First, you need to decide what sort of nestbox you want. There are two basic types: an enclosed space with a small entrance hole (tits, pied flycatchers) and a tray or ledge with or without sides and roof (blackbirds, pied wagtails, robins).
Having said that, all birds have their own special needs and the basic designs need to be modified accordingly.
simple nest box for birds that nest in hollow trees. This box could
benefit from a rubber hinge to guide water away down the roof but doesn't
need a catch (see middle picture).
A block of wood on the inside of the lid makes for better protection against flooding and predators.
|This is a bat-box. There are only two differences between this and the bird-box. Firstly, the backing board is longer, extends below the box and is roughened to allow bats to climb up. Secondly, the entrance to the box is on the bottom and not the front.|
To construct the nest-box pictured, you need:
Fixing a Nest-box:
Fixing a nest-box is mostly common sense.
Contact the RSPB on the web or by post, enclosing a stamped self addressed A4 envelope and request a copy of of their leaflet on Nest-boxes (RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL). If you want to go crazy and learn to build nest-boxes for everything from Pippets to Peregrines you need a copy of BTO Guide No.23 - Nestboxes by Chris du Feu published by the British Trust for Ornithology.
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