Think outside the box for nestbox week

Nest box c. Amy Lewis

Cheshire Wildlife Trust is urging people think about installing homes for more unusual feathered neighbours for National Nestbox Week running to February 21.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust is urging people think about installing homes for more unusual feathered neighbours for National Nestbox Week running to February 21.

February is the time of year that birds to start thinking about searching for a love nest and advances in nestbox construction mean we can give a helping hand to more wildlife than ever.

Along with the traditional boxes that millions of homes have for birds like blue tits and robins, the Trust says that urban birds like swifts and house sparrows are now in need of a lift up the housing ladder.

House sparrows in particular, like a Coronation Street-style terrace, with couples happy to nest immediately alongside their neighbours in rows of three or more nestboxes, vital for a bird that whose population has plummeted by almost three-quarters since the 1970s.

The plight of the swift however, has seen a rather more technological advance, with these super-fast flyers from Africa requiring a high-rise residence near the roofline – leading to construction companies developing dedicated ‘bricks’ that are the pre-fabs of the modern age, including a self-contained nest hidden inside.

As nestboxes have become increasingly popular, research has also seen major steps forward in the materials used to construct them.  Look out for boxes made of ‘woodcrete’ – a thermo-regulating material that not only maintains the best temperature, but is also tough enough to last for decades.

Rachel Bradshaw from Cheshire Wildlife Trust said: “Nestboxes are now a common fixture in millions of backyards across the country – and collectively our gardens are probably the biggest nature reserve we have in Britain.

“Whilst it’s great to give a helping hand to those garden neighbours we know and love, taking the time to think about less well-known birds like the swift could really make a huge difference to their survival, especially in urban areas.

For a guide to making your own nestbox and tips on installing and looking after it, visit the Trust’s  website at www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/actions/how-build-nesting-box-birds

In these challenging times our work will still continue to defend local wildlife

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