Blog 10-01-23

When work first started on our porch. I asked the builders to lay aside the plywood sheeting from the fascia and soffit as I wanted to build a bird nest box for my mum. However, salvaging the wood intact was not possible and I thought that was that. However, next day the builders presented me with a pile of short board offcuts from the joiner’s shop. Now, this was not just any old scrap wood, this was brand new 190 x 15 mm dressed mahogany boards. I reckoned enough for at least two nest boxes.

I kept this as a project for a rainy day and yesterday was just that, so I set about constructing some bird nest boxes. As a guide I used the dimensions shown on the British Trust for Ornithology site, the plans specifically for the blue tit or coal tit. I already have a triple nest box for house sparrows or great tits and it’s been used every year for the past ten years, sometime by house sparrows, sometimes by great tits, and last year saw both nesting there at the same time.

The boxes shown above are as detailed in the BTO instructions though I had just enough wood to increase the size of the lid to give a small overhang. The hole is 25 mm in diameter, the desired size for blue and coal tits. The hinge on the lid was fashioned from an offcut of the material used on our new porch flat roof. All the nails were from those I’ve accumulated over the years. Holes were drilled in the base for drainage and the back plate for mounting.

So, I now have three good solid next boxes for next to nothing other than a few hours’ labour in the shed. All the materials, nails, etc., were free. I just need to purchase some hook and eyes to hold the lid down and prevent grey squirrels taking either the eggs or chicks. And yes, you will probably have noticed how untidy the flat-head nails are on the hinge. Well, you try holding the lid in place, as well as the hinge, and also hammering in a nail at the same time while not hammering your fingers. Not easy I can assure you. And yes, there are too many nails generally but the ones I had were slightly too short so I compensated by using more. I’m quite sure the birds won’t mind.

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