Monday, September 04, 2006

The ultimate nestbox

We have a decent garden - not too big, but plenty of shrubs and mature climbers. We thought we had done everything right. We chose a good range of nest boxes, we found good spots in the garden, east or north facing, some in the open, some hidden. We kept the garden just a bit untidy to make it wildlife friendly. And so where did the birds nest? On or in the house.

The house sparrows did best with at least 6 broods this year. One in the eaves, four in our two 'sparrow terraces' and unfortunately one pair knocked through two old house martin nests to make a twin room sparrow des res, much to the distress of the returning martins. There's been some recent discussion about the use of terraces, and particularly whether sparrows will nest that closely together. Most people seem to report just one pair in a terrace at any one time. We did have a pair at each end of one terrace, but never in adjacent compartments, so separate nest boxes are probably a better bet.

As well as doing our bit for the disappearing house sparrow (we have dozens if you want some!), two very vocal broods of starling were brought up in the eaves.

Jackdaws got into the chimney for the second year running despite a cowl on the chimney pot, by going through some sort of a gap at the side - with no head for heights I haven't been up to have a look. Someone told me each pair can put a wheelbarrow full of sticks into a chimney, so if and when we ever do light a fire it should go up like a millennium beacon (remember them?).

You can tell when the youngsters are fledging because they start bashing their wings against the metal cowl as soon as it gets light, saving us the hassle of an alarm clock, whether we like it or not.

The best news came after the sparrows in the old martin nests fledged. Within days a pair of martins were back, and two weeks ago the youngsters left us. You can see the second nest below and to the left - we couldn't tell if the martins split the property back into apartments.

So there you go. Don't worry about the garden, just leave a few holes in the house, an open chimney and you'll soon be doing your bit for nature!

1 comment:

r.theys said...

best photos