Set up nest boxes in the autumn

Most people seem to think nest boxes should be set up in the spring. Hardware shops and garden centres first display their nest boxes in February or March. By this time it is too late because many of our nesting birds are non-migratory. They use the nest boxes throughout the whole of autumn and winter as a protection against bad weather and as a place to spend the night. So it is wrong to think only in terms of setting up nest boxes in the spring. Many of our nesting birds are already choosing their breeding territories in February and March; some, such as the treccreeper, even do this in late autumn. Admittedly the last few years have been unusually mild and without too much snow, but who wants to be carrying ladders and heavy nest boxes around in cold and snow? Nest boxes should be up by January at the latest, but it is still far better to have them up in autumn so that one can then look forward in peace and quiet to the bird songs of spring.

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