What are bird boxes and why should install bird boxes in your garden?
Like food and water, shelter is also a necessity for birds. Most of the time, birds need shelter to reproduce and increase their family members.
The increasing population of humans and rural land being developed for housing has also caused a severe loss in the habitat of wild birds and they don’t have enough places to make their nests in the wild.
In the wild, most of the birds make their own nest at different places with different biomaterials, however, some birds can’t make them and they have to lay their eggs in the nest of other birds.
That's why it's so important to provide birds with artificial bird boxes, so that they increase their population and to provide a resting area for birds for a short period like a few weeks.
So, what exactly is a bird house?
A bird house, put simply, is a box without any nesting material in it that can are large enough for birds, but too small for larger animals and are often decoratively marked with different colours on them.
You can buy a birdhouse from the market or online or you can make one in your own house. To make a bird box, you just need to make a single wooden box with a hole in front of it. A bird house is not a permanent house for birds and they usually stay there for a short period. Indeed, most of the time they don’t come back to a bird house in the next season.
However, if you live in an area with migratory birds, you may well find that some birds come and stay each year, so you can build a larger bird house or a bird house with more than one compartment to accommodate them.
Do birds make nests inside the bird boxes?
Yes, some birds make their own nests and some use the leftover of other birds. Some birds like woodpeckers use dead stems of trees to nest their bird house.
Do different birds need different types of bird boxes?
Yes, since there is a lot of variation in bird species, both in size and nesting habits, they need different types of bird boxes, so the first thing to do is research the types and needs of native bird species sheltering in your area.
Bird boxes come in different sizes and different types for different species. However, some basic things that you need to consider before selecting or making a bird box include hole size, ventilation, the thickness of the wall, the material used, opening, the slope of the roof etc.
How big should the hole be in a bird box?
The hole of a bird box should be as large as the targeted species can easily pass through it and it should not be extremely large since a large hole will allow the entrance of big birds or other animals into the box.
There should also be some small holes to provide ventilation to birds during hot weather.
The wall of the bird box should be at least 2cm thick, so that it provides insulation in the cold and is durable against the wind.
What should the bird box material be made up of?
The material of the bird box should also be taken into consideration as well and we recommend that the bird box be made of natural wood and that processed wood be avoided as it may harm birds in various ways.
What shape should a bird box be?
The bird box should be rectangular and you can select or make its opening side on any side. Another thing that you should consider is the ease of watching inside the bird box as it’ll help you to check the cleanliness inside the box, so you can clean it if it gets dirty. There should be a slop of the roof so that the rainwater runs off easily.
Where should I put a bird box in the garden?
After selecting the right bird box, the next thing is selecting the right place for the bird box in your garden.
You should consider a shadowed area - preferably not in constant direct sunlight. You will also need to research the nest height and direction preferences of the birds that you would like to reside in the bird box.
You also need to consider wind direction and make sure the hole is not facing a direction where it's often windy.
Finally, preferably put the bird box close to bountiful insects, so make sure it's not in an area where you're spraying herbicides or pesticides. That way, the birds will have a food source right outside their bird box!
How do I install a bird box?
There are various ways, but the most common is to mount the bird box onto a pole or a tree. Then, after attaching the bird box to a pole or tree, you should be sure about the security of the bird box that it may withstand severe weather and winds.
When do birds use bird boxes?
Most wild birds make their nests in early or mid spring, so that their young ones may get enough food after hatching, although the exact time varies according to the species of the bird.
When the targeted birds have resided in your bird box then you should keep monitoring their progress. Monitoring and cleaning the bird box is also important if you want your favourite bird to reside in your bird box.
After the hatching process, you can enjoy the chirping of young ones. If you want to see them when the adult ones are there, first, gently tap the box so that the adults may come outside and you can see the progress. You can do this once or twice a week this practice without disturbing them.
How many times can a bird box be used by different birds in one season?
After the birds have left the bird box, you should clean the box as soon as possible, so that the growth of fungus and other insects may not occur in your bird box.
If you complete the cleaning process quickly, you can hopefully enjoy watching two to three breeds in a season use that one same bird box!
What are bird baths and why bird baths are great for attracting wild birds?
Simply put, a bird bath is a source of water for wild birds.
The most commonly used bird bath is made up of cement or earthenware, which keep water cooler and are recommended.
Metallic bird baths are also available, but are not recommended as they become hot if you’re going to keep them in the sun.
During the summer heat, wild birds always have a problem getting water and they have to fly a lot to get a source of water for drinking and bathing.
You can help them by keeping a bird bath in your garden and enjoy the increased number of birds visiting your garden at the same time!
Where should I put a bird bath in the garden?
The main thing is to keep bird baths away from the ground because they can attract insects and pests.
Bird baths are usually attached with a pole from the underside as they are above the ground or you can buy individual bird baths that you can place on a bird table or feeding station.
How often should I change the water in a bird bath?
If at all possible, it's great to change the water daily. This helps keep the water fresh and topped up, but also to make sure that it doesn't get contaminated with bacteria, which can actually pass diseases to birds.