1 CHOOSE YOUR SITE CAREFULLY
Don’t site nestboxes too close together because this may cause aggressive behaviour between birds. Avoid erecting one near a birdfeeder – the activities of visiting species could disturb nesting pairs – or buying a nestbox incorporated in a bird table.
2 PROVIDE SHELTER
Ensure your nestbox is sheltered from prevailing wind and strong sunlight. It is best to face it between north and east, unless there are trees or buildings to provide shade. Prevent rain from entering the nestbox by angling it so that it leans slightly downwards.
3 FASTEN SECURELY
Fix your nestbox to a tree with either a nylon bolt or galvanised wire surrounded by a piece of hose to avoid damaging the trunk. Because trees grow in girth as well as height, check the fastening every two or three years. If there are no trees in your garden then place your nestbox on the side of a shed or wall using galvanised or stainless-steel screws that will last longer.
4 PROTECT AGAINST PREDATORS
Fixing a metal plate around the entrance hole of your nestbox will deter woodpeckers and squirrels. Arrange barbed wire, gorse or rose clippings above and below the nestbox to provide protection against cats. Don’t fix a perch on the front of a nestbox because this will encourage unwanted intruders.
5 CHANGE LOCATION
Factors such as the number of pairs of birds in the area, the presence of natural nest cavities nearby and the location of territory boundaries could mean that your nestbox remains vacant. If no birds use it for several years in succession then consider changing its location or aspect.