This week I am excited to bring you a guest post from our resident Baby Routes wildlife expert. A nature enthusiast through and through, our guest poster enjoys passing on her passion for all things wild to the next generation. This has included leading wildlife clubs for kids and work as a wildlife volunteer with some of the UK’s leading nature charities.
Spring is sprung at last!
It may officially be spring but keep feeding the birds in your garden as they need all the energy they can get with nest building not so far away. With such cold and miserable weather there’s not much out there for them.
Have you remembered to put up the nest box Granny gave the kids at Christmas? It’s your last chance this year as happy blue tit couples are now actively house hunting. Remember to secure your box firmly at a height well away from the neighbour’s cats and preferably not facing south exposed to hot summer sunshine which could cause young birds to overheat. No chance of that last year though when many chicks perished in the wet and cold. Thankfully many birds have several broods to ensure some survival.
If your nest box is already a firm favourite with the birds in your garden, remember to clean it out in the autumn to avoid passing on parasites and disease. Don’t disturb it in winter as it may be providing shelter for wrens or other tiny birds. If like me you have forgotten the annual clean out, you have just a few days to get up the ladder and spruce things up a bit. All you need is some hot water – just clear out the old debris, rinse the nest box out and leave to dry with the top off. Stay well clear of any cleaning products or insecticides as these can be harmful to the birds. Remember also to check the nest box catch to keep the box secure from magpies or other predators.
A nest box is easy to make from a single plank of wood, a few nails and a plastic hinge cut from a bit of old wellie! Kids love the hammering and supervised drilling and then being able to watch the birds using their special bird box. Everything you need to know to make your own nest box can be found on the RSPB website, so get going this week.
So it’s in with the cats, on with the gloves and out with the step ladder!
For more information on nest boxes and how to care for birds visiting your garden, please visit the RSPB website.