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25.02.2021
The Right Nesting Box
When the days become longer again at the beginning of March and the temperature rises, the breeding season starts for many of our native birds. Nesting places play an important role for the breeding success of garden birds.

The Right Nesting Box    

When the days become longer again at the beginning of March and the temperature rises, the breeding season starts for many of our native birds.  Nesting places play an important role for the breeding success of garden birds.
      
If you did not hang up your nesting aids late last summer or in autumn, now it is high time to do this. Our garden birds need time to get acquainted with the nesting boxes. The birds also love to use them in winter as places of retreat from cold and wet weather.

Compensate for lack of nesting opportunities      

Birds need safe places to bring up their young where they are protected from predators and adverse weather conditions. While woodpeckers chisel their own nesting cavities, free breeders such as greenfinches and blackbirds build elaborate nests in dense hedgerows or trees. Other bird species use existing cavities or niches in hollow trees, wood piles or walls. In many areas, however, such natural nesting sites are hard to find. Nesting boxes can compensate for this lack and help to achieve good breeding success.

Take the different requirements into consideration

Individual bird species have very different requirements as far as size and construction of nesting boxes go. While redstarts and robins usually prefer half-open cavities (nest boxes for half-cavity breeders), tits, starlings and sparrows prefer closed nesting boxes with an entrance hole (nest boxes for cavity breeders). Here, the diameter of the entrance hole determines the future tenant. For example, small entrance holes (diameter 30 mm) are suitable for species such as blue tits and sparrows to give them a chance to prevail against larger birds. We offer a nesting box with downward-facing entrance holes extra for sparrows. Especially popular with children is our nesting box kit for tits.

Secure mounting

It is important that the nesting boxes are installed in a way that make them as inaccessible as possible for cats and martens or are even actively protected against predators by a climbing protection. For smaller bird species, the ideal height to attach a nesting box is between two and three meters. The box should not be exposed to bright sunlight during the day. Nesting boxes can be attached to branches or branch stumps, and in wind-protected places they can also be hung so that they swing freely. If they are to be attached directly to the tree trunk, care must be taken not to damage the tree in the process. Aluminum nails, metal straps or sturdy ropes are ideal for attaching nesting boxes. House walls, balconies or garden sheds are suitable for mounting half-cavity nesting boxes.

Thorough cleaning is a must!   

Nesting boxes provide safe places to hibernate not only for birds, but also for many insects such as earwigs or lacewings, as well as for small mammals such as dormice, mice and bats. Therefore, the ideal rule is to clear them of all nesting material, droppings and any pests immediately after the breeding season at the end of August/beginning of September. It is usually sufficient to remove the old nesting material and sweep out the box thoroughly. In case of heavy parasite infestation, the nesting box can be washed out with water or a soapy solution. Chemical cleaning agents, disinfectants or "insect sprays" should not be used, however. After having been washed out, the nesting boxes must dry out well before they can be hung up again. Before removing the boxes, you should knock briefly to warn possible inhabitants beforehand. During the breeding season, any disturbance, especially opening the nesting boxes, should be avoided at all costs though!

Source: Industrial Association of Pet Care Producers, Germany (IVH)/Federal Association for Professional Nature, Animal and Species Protection, Germany (BNA)