Bracknell Forest Council are promoting 2020 as The Year of the Garden, and they are keen to encourage us to do more for nature within gardens, including green space associated with schools and places of worship.
During 2020 we will write a series of posts to give you ideas about how to encourage wildlife into your gardens. We will highlight national campaigns, point you towards helpful websites, and provide timely tips. In return, we would love to hear about what is in your garden.
The third week of February is National Nest Box Week. This campaign has been run since 1997 to encourage us all to put up nest boxes in our local area. There are lots of websites that show you how to make your own nest box (e.g. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/nestboxes/). If you don’t fancy building your own, you can buy boxes from the RSPB or from garden centres. The RSPB also provides helpful advice on where to put your box (follow the links on the website above).
If you already have nest boxes in your garden, the British Trust for Ornithology are asking people to monitor their nest boxes regularly (https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/nbc).
There are already more than 50 bird and bat boxes around Binfield in public places and in new housing developments. By the time you read this, BEG will have put up more than 10 new boxes. Many of these have been sponsored by Binfield residents.
Different types of boxes attract different types of birds. The most common boxes in Binfield, with a single small hole, attract blue tits, great tits, and other small birds. We also have open fronted boxes for robins, and larger boxes with holes for starlings and greater spotted woodpeckers. In Binfield there are also a few communal nest boxes for house sparrows and specialist boxes for tree-creepers, kestrels, tawny owls and barn owls.
We are currently investigating whether there is a suitable location for swift nest boxes. There are two colonies of these summer migrants in Priestwood and they are often seen flying and feeding over Binfield but as far as we know they don’t currently nest in Binfield.
If you have nest boxes, then please let us know what is using them and consider putting out food and water to make it easier for the adult birds to support their young.