Nest Boxes

nest boxes and wildlife homes

Nest boxes and wildlife homes

Help bring wildlife into your garden


Bird nest boxes and other wildlife homes can really help bring and keep wildlife in your garden. Many different species of birds use nest boxes. Add in a hedgehog house, insect hotel and frog home and you will soon have a lively and fun garden.

There’s nothing better in the morning than waking up to a dawn chorus of bird song. Include a couple of nest boxes in your garden and you will soon enjoy a more natural song during the day.


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Garden bird nest boxes FAQ

How to attract birds to a nest box

You can encourage birds to use your nest boxes by:

  1. Put them up early. In the UK boxes should be up by the end of February to attract early migrants.
  2. Clean nest boxes out by end of November if not being used to get them ready for next season.
  3. Put them within sight of bird feeders and food. But don't put them too close or use a combined feeder/nest box. Birds need somewhere less busy to raise chicks.
  4. Don't put them too high up. Some birds such as swallows and swifts will nest at height under the roof but most birds tend to nest in shrubs and bushes. Keep the next box high enough to avoid cats etc but low enough for birds to be comfortable. About shoulder height will be suitable for a wide range of species.
  5. Make sure your nest box has a safe paint or treatment coating. Don't use toxic chemicals to protect your nest box from the elements.
  6. The nest box should face away from direct sunlight and prevailing wind. Slightly angle the front of the nest box downwards to reduce the impact of rain getting into the box.



What type of birds use nest boxes?

Almost any species of bird in the UK will use a nest box. The type of box you put up will determine what species is attracted to it. Some species you can expect to attract to your bird box include:

  • Coal Tits.
  • House Sparrows.
  • Tree Sparrows.
  • Wrens.
  • Starlings.
  • Blackbirds.
  • Song Thrushes.
  • Nuthatches.


Should I put nesting material in a bird box?

Generally no, adding extra nesting material to a bird box is not necessary. The species of bird that find your box will build its own nest in its own way. Some people suggest adding a layer of sawdust or other natural material at the bottom of the nest but it's not needed.

If you want to help birds build a nest then you can hang some nesting material up close to the box for the bird to find. Good material includes a bundle of natural sheep's wool, a pile of straw and leaves, dog or cat hair. Keep any pine needles that fall off your Christmas tree for birds to use as nesting material.


Do birds use nest boxes in winter?

Yes, a lot of birds will use nest boxes in the winter for roosting. They may not use them every night but when the weather is particularly harsh they will make use of boxes. It's one reason why when you come to clean your box you should check it's not in use and only have the box down for cleaning for a couple of nights at most.


Garden bird nesting box video: