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How to Attract Birds to a Nest Box? 5 Genius Ideas

How to Attract Birds to a Nest Box 5 Genius Ideas 1

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Who isn’t amazed by the song of garden birds? If you lack feathered friends in your surroundings and your nest box feels empty, knowing some crucial and determining information is necessary to attract birds to a nest box. This includes the size of the nest box, its orientation, the nesting period (different from the breeding period), clever bird feeding, and finally, maintaining the habitat. If you manage to attract even a single bird to a nest box, you’ve succeeded! Many birds are social and won’t hesitate to settle in as a family.

The nest is ideal for promoting bird mating and protecting chicks from predators such as cats or squirrels. By providing a refuge for birds, you graciously help them combat winter or low temperatures. Optimizing nesting, while making it difficult for predators to access, preserves a rich and essential biodiversity in our daily lives. Hurry up and discover our best tips dedicated to the well-being of birds of all species that nature abundantly provides us.

How to Attract Birds to a Nest Box 5 Genius Ideas

1. Adapt the nest box to the birds in your garden

Artificial nest boxes allow birds that cannot find shelter in their natural habitat to find refuge and survive winter or escape potential predators. Certain species never nest in artificial nests, such as the Turtle Dove, European Greenfinch, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Tree Sparrow, Woodpecker, or Magpie.

On the other hand, the Blackbird, Robin, or Wren prefer a nest box with a large entrance, while the charming Blue Tit is more fond of a small nest box with a 28mm entrance. The House Sparrow or Nuthatch consider building their nest in a nest box with a 32mm opening, and the Starling and Great Spotted Woodpecker opt for an artificial nest box with a 50mm entrance.

Here are the eco-friendly materials favored by our birds: wood or coconut fiber, straw, untreated wood shavings for additional insulation in winter. Twigs, dry hay, and animal fur, including angora wool from sheep or rabbits, form an excellent foundation for building a cozy nest. When you brush your pet’s fur, you can easily collect some using a soft or bristle brush.

Avoid painting the nest box with overly bright colors. It’s best to leave your nest box as it is, naturally tinted or the same color as the tree. Coatings like copper arsenate and ACC chromium (wood pesticides) can be harmful to our feathered friends.

2. Install the nest box in the right high location

Diversify your garden by planting trees, shrubs, hedges, or bushes (hawthorn, ivy, holly, mountain ash, honeysuckle, elderberry) to encourage the proliferation of species. Note the following essential criteria to hope for many visitors flapping their wings in unison:

  • Place the nest box sheltered from the wind and full sun exposure.
  • Choose a semi-shaded area.
  • Select a calm and peaceful location (away from traffic).
  • Space the nests at least 13.12 feet apart.
  • Orient the nest towards the East (southeast or northeast).
  • Hang the nest box 9.84 to 19.69 feet above the ground.

How to Attract Birds to a Nest Box 5 Genius Ideas

3. Choose the right time to install a nest box

Install your nest box preferably in winter, before the nesting period from March to July begins for most bird species, migratory or not. For example, a swallow will build its nest in May, while sparrows or tits might settle in as early as late winter.

Birds need to be able to locate their new love nest well in advance. So, be patient and install the nest box 2 months before nesting. As for the breeding season, it extends from March to September, as the days lengthen and the air temperature becomes milder.

4. Feed the birds with fat balls or seeds

Feeding birds is the key to success in attracting them to your garden. Feeding birds in winter helps keep them alive and ready to build their nests and mate in the spring. The body temperature of a healthy bird ranges from 104°F to 113°F, so it would be difficult to maintain it without food and shelter.

Place a feeder or fat ball holder filled with seed mixtures, dried or fresh fruits, and don’t forget to provide a nearby water source. Larger birds prefer to feed on the ground. In that case, you can provide a small ground feeding table to collect fallen seeds from a hanging or standing feeder.

In general, offer rich winter food (fat balls, sunflower or peanut seeds, worms) and less energy-dense food as the warmer days arrive (berries, fruits, seed mixtures). Have some stale bread to give away? Dry bread is not easily digestible for birds, but wet stale bread is highly appreciated.

5. Clean the habitat after the birds leave

At the end of the season, it’s important to disinfect empty nests, feeders, and water sources to prevent the transmission of diseases through droppings or leftover food. Remember to thoroughly rinse all your bird accessories after spring cleaning.

Providing a clean and safe shelter to your tweeting guests is also a good way to attract them with kindness and keep them near you for a longer time. Plan for cleaning twice a year: once in autumn and once at the end of winter.

REMEMBER! To attract birds to a nest box, it’s best to install it at the end of autumn or even in early winter. After that, it depends on which species you want to discover in your garden: migratory birds take longer to return after spring, while others don’t migrate and require early shelter. If you notice that the nest remains empty without any visitors from one year to the next, try relocating it, as it may be in the wrong place at the wrong time (too much noise, lurking predator, nesting period).

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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