. . . so here’s a little blog about the joys of nest boxes in a Belstone garden, from Jane Taylor

Keen ‘birders’ among you may know that the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have declared this week as ‘National Bird Box week’! Reminding us that soon Belstone’s feathered residents will be looking for somewhere cosy for their young brood! 
So, it seemed timely to share some Belstone bird box tales! The bird boxes in our garden are a constant source of joy and entertainment! Here in our garden down Skaigh Lane, we have now put up 7 bird boxes, 4 of which got used last year by various feathered friends; Blue Tits, Great Tits, Sparrows and Robins!

If you have never put up a bird box – perhaps now might be a good time to give it a try? When thinking about location – we have boxes in all sorts of places so the birds have a ‘pick and mix’ to choose from, but all out of direct south facing sunlight. Above you can see one fitted to the end of the shepherd’s hut – and another within an old dead apple tree; these were both used last year!  Below is another photo of a nest box on our garden arch – this might not be an obvious place for a bird box – but in summer – it is well covered by a thorny ‘Rambling Rector’ rose – giving protection from predators; this box has been very popular with Sparrows.

Nest box on garden arch

We have also got a tree-box (using galvanised nails so as not to damage the tree), placed on the hedge line with our neighbours, Angela and Peter, so we can all enjoy the show! This box has been well used by Great Tits and Blue Tits in previous years, but this year we have put a nest-cam inside (thanks to Kevin Vogan for fitting it); so, we now get to peak inside with an app on our phones! The box is already being used by an overnight bird (we think a Blue Tit), who comes each evening at dusk.
If you fancy fitting a nest-cam to your boxes, worth looking at this local company in Totnes who have been very helpful with advice, and are a professional ecology supplier:

Finally, not forgetting every gardener’s best buddy, the Robin! We have this Robin-box on our fence – and were so excited to find this beautifully constructed nest last spring, which happily resulted in a successful nest of 4 chicks.

So if this has inspired you to try a nest box in your garden – or add another – we are very fortunate in Belstone to have our very own bird box maker, John Moppett who has kindly said if you wanted a locally made box he will be happy to oblige. Also, Men in Sheds in Okehampton make a wide array of boxes from recycled materials, including Owl boxes, contact me to purchase one of these
Jane Taylor