BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 18 Feb'15

…IT’S NATIONAL NEST BOX WEEK!

The RSPB is calling on nature lovers all over the country to embrace the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)’s National Nest Box week.

Natural nest sites for birds are disappearing quicker than ever; with many species laying their eggs up to 30 days earlier than in the 1960s, our feathered friends need all the help they can get.

Alarming decline

Lack of nesting sites for some of our best-loved garden visitors, such as house sparrows and greenfinches, is thought to be one of the reasons for their alarming decline in recent years.

‘Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees and old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired.

‘Taking part in National Nest Box Week gives you a chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst getting the pleasure of observing any breeding birds. Putting up a nest box helps individual birds, while monitoring helps the conservation of the species.’

Hazel Evans, BTO’s Nest Box Challenge organiser

The RSPB will reveal the latest highs and lows for birds and other wildlife in March, when it will reveal the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch survey.

Nest Box Week

The 18th National Nest Box Week, which runs from 14-21 February, encourages people to put up boxes in time for the nesting season.

‘If you still have a nest box in your shed or garage, now is the time to get it up. Birds are nesting earlier and earlier every year, so they will actually start shopping around for suitable nest sites soon.

‘Putting in a bit effort now by getting your nest boxes out and putting them up in the right place will also increase the chances of having a bustling garden bursting with young birds in spring, so it will be beneficial all year round.’

Richard James, RSPB wildlife advisor

Top birds

The RSPB’s 36th annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey results will be revealed the week of 23 March. Over half a million people are believed to have completed their one-hour watch, spotting close to 7 million birds.

In last year’s Birdwatch survey, the great spotted woodpecker made its first appearance in the top 20 most-spotted garden birds list. It was also a good year for goldfinches, which swooped into the number seven spot.

But it was another hard year for song thrushes, which have declined by 81% since the survey started. They are in 21st place and, like many of our favourite garden birds, remain on the red list.

Once the data has been checked and pieced together, RSPB scientists will be able to monitor trends and understand how different birds and other wildlife are faring.

Everything you need to know about making your own nest box can be found here. Register here to get a free BTO information pack.