The breeding season for most birds officially starts on March 15th. The animals are already preparing in February, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. Because making nests in hedges as they used to do, or in holes and cracks in houses is almost impossible anymore. A nest box can provide a solution. But not every nest box is suitable.
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A nest box must be stable and provide protection
Birds are not crazy: they also want their offspring to emerge from the egg as safe as possible. That means that a nest, in whatever form, must be stable. That also applies to a nest box. People who hang a nest box from a rope so that the thing constantly wobbles back and forth can wait until they weigh an ounce for birds that want to nest.
Because they don’t do that in such an environment. A bird looks for a nest that is stable and that other animals can hardly reach. So a nest almost on the ground is not a good option either. The nest box must therefore hang firmly and at a good height. Birds also investigate when they have a choice of various nest boxes. Then they fly to it, beep in for a moment, and then fly to the next one. In this way, they choose the best nest box.
No cats should be able to reach nest boxes
The most important thing for a bird that wants to provide offspring is that no cats can reach the nest box. Anyone who provides a place that a cat cannot reach will take care of that. But something like a layer of protection like barbed wire can also help.
Colored nest boxes
Today’s fashion is no longer just reserved for what people wear, nowadays everything has to have color. Even nest boxes. Beautiful to the eye, but not what a nest box is for. It is precisely those bright colors that attract predators such as birds of prey. A nest box should actually be as inconspicuous as possible, just like birds build their own nests.
Never in the sun
If you want to properly hang a nest box, you should also ensure that the house is not exposed to the sun. That is much too hot. Also, the wood should not be thinner than 1.5 centimeters, because otherwise, it offers too little shelter against the same sun and other elements. If a nest box is in the sun, it will become much too hot for the young and for the mother who is incubating. In any case, the young can die from the temperature and that can never be the intention.
Northeast entrance opening
The entrance opening, the opening where the parents enter the cupboard is best located on the northeast. This is because the wind often comes from the southwest.
Openings of the nest box
The entrances to the same nesting boxes come in many sizes. It depends on the bird how big that entrance should be. A starling needs about 4.5 centimeters to get in, a blue tit and a great tit need 2.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter. A great tit often also opts for smaller dimensions, because a spotted woodpecker can also go through a 5-centimeter hole. And he eats the eggs of a great tit.
Not too small
Tiny nest boxes seem very cute. But they offer too little space to really breed well. That is why a nest box must be at least 20 by 20 centimeters. And made of durable and not too thin wood.
If you already have a nest box in the garden, which is used to breed, it is best to clean the box for the new season. The hive often contains excrement and food remains, which are not good for birds to breed again. Just scrubbing with hot water will do. After that, the nest box can be mounted on the wall again. It increases the chance that a bird will breed again in the birdhouse.