Bird boxes in the park were treated to their annual spring-clean recently. Five of the fourteen boxes had been nested in, the main occupants being tits and sparrows. The low occupancy reflects the situation country-wide. It was a poor year for small birds because the strange spring weather disrupted the caterpillar hatching. No owls yet, but we suspect that the owl box had been used by a squirrel or possibly a jackdaw.
Analysis revealed that it tends to be the same boxes which are used each year, so we are consulting about moving the less successful ones to other positions. Our local RSPB man, John Yates writes, “When we originally sited the boxes we tried to pick the best spots. Now with hindsight and experience we can learn more about what the birds might be finding attractive. We sited the boxes in the right direction so now we must look for other things like the nearness of food (perhaps the trees on the Cliff or the allotments).”
“Another factor could be the flight paths to the nests; have the chosen ones more cover for the nesting parents on their approach and exit from the nest? Open fronted boxes like those used by robins and flycatchers are much more successful when the boxes are hidden in thick foliage like ivy and bramble. The lack of a patch or two of thick foliage in the park continues to be a problem in attracting birds like thrushes and dunnocks to nest. As for bird food, we really need some berry bearing trees like cotoneaster, ivy and hawthorn.”