Over the last week or so my birds have been frantic at the feeders, I'm filling up each day and keeping my eye on the birdbaths, defrosting and topping up.
I've also put up a bird nest box. This one is open at the front, a favourite with species incuding Robins, Wrens, Blackbird, Spotted Flycather and Song Thrush. Birds generally breed from February through to August, but by putting up my box a bit earlier increases the chance of it being used.
I love that this one is just a Birch log hollowed out, and looks very natural - I got it from from C J Wildlife. They also have a section about how to build your own box.
I've put it on the old Sycamore tree, about nine feet up. The best height for nest boxes is widely accepted as being between five and eighteen feet respectively. (I was tempted to place it a bit lower, so I could see the brood easily if it is taken up!). I have also placed the box on the North East side of the trunk, avoiding prevailing winds and strong sunlight. Open boxes require more cover and protection, so it is near a small branch, where, when the tree is in leaf, the box will be partly obscured and feel safe. It also aids young birds taking their first flights, as they have something to launch out to and plenty of cover.
I'm really hoping that this Robin will take up the box. His favourite spot is the knobbly handle on the wheel of my forklift, where he sits and watches my hammer wielding antics (he went camera shy!).
In part, this is all in preparation for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, for the weekend 28th and 29th January. You can download from the site a counting sheet to record what you see. Hope you'll join in.