Don’t wait until summer to enjoy the benefits of having a garden
11th Feb 2018
We’re busy carrying out winter lawn care services across the country, but chances are the pleasure you’re getting from your garden at the moment is largely what you’re observing from the warmth and comfort of your home.
Many of us put food out during cold weather to ensure birds have enough to eat, and because we love to see them! A friendly robin occupying his regular spot on the fence or a blue tit taking advantage of a well-stocked feeder bring smiles to the faces of young and old, and most would say they would love to see more of our feathered-friends when we look out of our windows.
National Nest Box Week
National Nest Box Week takes place every year between 14-21st February and is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology. It is a celebratory period aimed at encouraging more people to help the birds by putting up nest boxes.
It’s something the whole family can get involved in, from making boxes to keeping watch for parent birds heading back to them with food for their chicks! Bird boxes can be bought or made to encourage birds of all sizes from House Sparrows to Tawny Owls, and they can be located in a whole variety of environments.
Pairs of small birds begin to prospect in the latter half of February, so a box put up at the end of the winter stands a good chance of attracting nesting birds. However, it is never too early or late to put up a nest box, as some birds will use them to roost in during the winter months.
Tips to get you started
1. Design matters! The first thing to consider is the kind of birds you’re hoping to attract, or which regular visitors are already in your garden. The entrance hole opening on the nest box determines which bird it will appeal to most. This diagram shows which common garden bird species are likely to use which nest box hole type and size.
2. Increase your success. Even if your garden is small and you only really have space for one box, it all helps! However, having two or three general boxes with different hole sizes to allow for different species can increase your success. In fact, more than 60 species of bird are known to use nest boxes.
3. Location, location, location! Just like us, when it comes to choosing a home, birds like to feel safe, secure and warm. When looking for a site for your box, try to find a sheltered, shady location, preferably facing north through east to south-east to keep out prevailing winds and strong direct sunlight.
4. Large garden? Think BIG. Large gardens with mature trees may be suitable for owl or kestrel boxes, particularly if you’re close to woodland or open countryside.
5. Town house? Use the extra storey to attract swifts. If you live in a three-storey town house, consider putting up swift boxes. Better still, ask your housebuilder to fit them when they’re constructing your house!
6. Consider other winged creatures. Bats need boxes too!
7. Nourish your new family. Parent birds find extra sources of food invaluable during the breeding season. Here’s some guidance on safe food for garden birds. Fresh water is vital too, especially when natural water sources are frozen.
8. You’ve built your box, now build your knowledge! It is a great way to help you identify and get to know the birds that visit your garden.
If your lawn is looking worse for wear, has issued with moss or is waterlogged, contact your local Lawn Master depot. Our lawn experts have years of turf care experience as groundsmen and greenkeepers. They’ll carry out a free lawn analysis and explain how they can get your lawn in great shape for the warmer months.