LOOKING for a new home for the new year? You’re not alone.
Many birds will get off to a flying start on the househunting front early this year too, by claiming a new home with their version of a ‘sold sign.’
If birds start pecking away at the nest box entrance hole it’s not because they, like us have increased their girths over Christmas.
The RSPB is assuring people that birds are not trying to make the holes larger; it is territorial behaviour claiming the box ahead of the breeding season.
RSPB wildlife adviser Val Osborne explains: “At this time of year, many birds are starting to do early checks of nesting sites to claim their patch. They tap around holes and in nestboxes, as visual and audible signs to other birds that this site is taken. Blue tits and starlings are the most obvious culprits but other birds will be showing similar signs. After pecking around the hole, the birds are likely to disappear to get themselves in tip-top condition for the breeding season, but many people think they’ve left because the box entrance is too small.”
The wildlife charity says that many birds will be starting to get organised with an early spring clean, tidying up last year’s nest boxes and removing any unwanted debris. Preparing now means they can spend the next few months feeding up and finding a mate so they have the best chance to breed when spring arrives.
Nest boxes are great substitutes for holes in old trees. They’re a real favourite with many birds including blue tits, robins, house sparrows and starlings.
“If you got a nest box for Christmas, don’t leave it lying around in the shed or garage, get it put up now while the birds are still browsing,” suggests Ms Osborne.
“It is important to site them correctly though; a nest box in the wrong place could mean birds suffer harshly in the heat.
“Unless there are trees or buildings which shade the box during the day, they need to be facing between north and east to protect them from overheating in strong summer sunshine. It will also shelter them from wetter south westerly winds.”
To find out more visit www.rspb.org.uk/advice.