Nesting Help for Urban Birds


The Urban Birder

March is a bit of a weird month for me. It’s the month where winter melts into spring and it is not often a smooth transition. It also heralds the start of the breeding season in earnest. We notice that our urban birds are getting a little frisky and there is a lot of singing and general noise going on in the garden. Yes, it is a time for rejoicing. That jubilance can be greatly enhanced for both you and the birds if you provide them with places to nest within your urban garden or if you have not got one then in a communal space or local park. In my view, no urban wildlife space should be without offering its avian visitors the chance to nest safely.

There is a lot to be said for putting up nest boxes in the early spring. We must never underestimate the importance of our urban gardens as sites for breeding – no matter how lowly you may think that your plot is.

Did you know that the vast majority of our Swift and House Martins in the UK breed within our towns and cities and both are showing marked declines. So why not help to halt the slide of those two enigmatic species by installing one of CJ Wildlife’s range of House Martin Nests or the Woodstone Built-in Swift Nest Box. It could make a massive difference.

The main problem for many species is the fact that Britain is suffering from a chronic shortage of suitable natural nesting sites. This has been brought about by our unhealthy predilection for removing dead trees that are the very sites where birds can nest. Local authorities, keen on adhering to their public safety mandates, all too often remove old trees in parks and local woods that are deemed to be dangerous.

However, these old trees, once they start to decay, are important for woodpeckers and other hole-nesting birds, as rotting wood is readily excavated and enables the birds to create nesting chambers. Coupled with this is the fact that most of the modern buildings that we construct are without cavities in which urban birds like Starlings and House Sparrows can nest. Furthermore, we are filling in the cavities in our older buildings. You get the picture.

So use this spring to reverse that trend. CJ Wildlife has an extensive range of nest boxes to suit almost every situation. There are the classic ‘tit’ boxes with the small round hole in the front. Then there is the open-fronted box that is reminiscent of a letterbox and great for Robins and the Spotted Flycatchers when they arrive in May. Aside from the specialist Swift and House Martin boxes you could even put up a larger box for Tawny Owls and Jackdaws if you are fortunate enough to have a wooded area on your property.


Reality check! Don’t expect the nest box that you so lovingly provided to be patroned right away. Sometimes it may take a while and it may involve you re-siting the box for the next year. Simply position the box so that it faces northeast ideally but more importantly ensure it is not facing directly into the prevailing southwesterly wind. Consider the best use of available cover in a quiet spot so that it can be sited away from the prying eyes of potential predators, but make sure that there is still a clear flight path to the box. Also, ensure that the box is in a location that is easy for you to access for maintenance purposes. With all those considerations taken on board why don’t you put up some nest boxes in March and tell us how you got on.

CJ Wildlife also brings you the best view of raising an avian family with this season's live 24/7 nest box webcams.  From owls to peregrines, enjoy the behaviour of many species close up as they build their nests and raise their young.  Eggs have already been laid in some nests so keep checking back

David Lindo

13 March 2020

For information on our collaboration with David Lindo, click here

CJ's has a whole range of products that are suitable for use in urban gardens, so for ideas and suggestions of what to offer your urban garden birds, click here

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