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Nest boxes

Since early March 2010, we have put up 30 nesting boxes throughout the Parish for various species of birds comprising those designed for Spotted Flycatcher and Robin (5), Blue and Great Tit (14), Little Owl (2), Barn Owl (1), House Martin (4), Kestrel (1), Swift (2) and House Sparrow (1 large communal box).

We have had great success with the Tit boxes, which have been used by both Great Tit and Blue Tit. Numerous clutches numbering up to 12 eggs have been seen in the boxes in the breeding seasons of both 2010 and 2011 with subsequent fledglings, of which many successfully flew their nests. Early results for 2012 indicate that numbers are well down due to the wet early summer.

Spotted Flycatchers did not use boxes for nesting in 2010 or 2011 but the good news is that a pair has used one box this year. The hope is that the numbers of this declining species might start to increase again, making the availability of the boxes valuable. Similarly we had no success with the Little Owl boxes despite the fact that at least one pair successfully breeds year on year in the Parish, close to where the boxes are sited.

No Robins have yet used any of our boxes, although one box was used by Blackbird that made a nest but the sitting hen bird did not appear to lay any eggs, though they might have been predated. The House Martin boxes have yet to be used and the House Sparrow box was used by a Blue Tit pair and not Sparrows. Nevertheless we are optimistic that these boxes will eventually provide valuable, much needed nesting sites.

A single Barn Owl box was put up in November 2010, and in 2011 was taken over by a hen Barn Owl that laid a clutch of 6 eggs. Although the eggs were fertile they did not go on to hatch, probably due to the death of the male partner. We look forward to another clutch this year with a more successful outcome.

More nesting boxes are planned to be put up in the Parish, including another for Barn Owl when a suitable site has been identifed.

Donations to the Nest Box Project are gratefully received.

Nest Box Donation List

Open Fronted Style for Robin / Spotted Flycatcher 6
Small Tit Box 6
Sparrow Terrace Box 15
Little Owl Box 15
Swift Box 15
Kestrel Box 30
Tawny Owl Box 40
Barn Owl Box 70

Acknowledgments: We wish to acknowledge significant help with our endeavours from Steve Thompson (Bedfordshire Bird Club), John McDonald & Paul Stevens (Church Farm, Wrestlingworth) and Peter Wilkinson (The Barn Owl Trust).