how many bird boxes in a garden

Positioning your bird nestbox

For nestboxes with open fronts and small entrance holes:

Most bird species don’t care how high the box is above the ground as long as it’s out of the way of curious onlookers and sly cats. This applies to both fixed to trees and walls.

In order to avoid intense direct sunlight and the most intense rain, it is best to mount a box facing somewhere between south-east and north if there isn’t any natural shelter. To allow the roof to divert rainwater away from the entrance, the box needs to be slightly tipped forward.

Fixing the nestbox in a prickly bush or erecting chicken wire around the entrance may be able to discourage predators, but you should always make sure there is a clear flight path to the entrance. If woodpeckers or squirrels pose a significant risk, install a metal plate around the entrance to prevent it from being enlarged.

While some authorities advise using nails to secure the box to a tree trunk or branch directly, others prefer to encircle the box and trunk with rope or wire (be sure to use a piece of rubber or something similar to protect the trunk from wire cutting in). Both approaches work well, but it is obvious that if the box is wired and can be removed for cleaning on a yearly basis, maintenance will be simpler.

Depending on the species you want to draw in, a garden can have a certain number of nestboxes. Many species, like Blue Tits, are extremely territorial and will not put up with another pair nearby. The typical density of Blue Tits is two to three pairs per acre. Some species, like the colonial nesters, Tree Sparrows, will gladly build their nests next to each other.

Avoid positioning any nestbox near a feeding area or bird table because the frequent arrivals and departures of numerous other birds may hinder the birds from nesting in the box.

All nestboxes should be taken down at the conclusion of each breeding season, the old nesting materials should be removed, and the box should be scorched with boiling water to eliminate any parasites. Use boiling water instead of pesticides or flea powder. Annual cleaning is best carried out in October or November.

If hatched eggs are discovered in the box, they can only be removed legally between October and January inclusive, and they have to be destroyed; it is against the law to keep them! This is due to the “Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”

In order to provide birds with a place to roost during inclement weather, leave the bird box up throughout the winter.

One of the simplest ways to draw birds to your garden is to install a feeder or table, especially in the winter when food is more scarce.

Mixed seeds Blackbird, blue tit, chaffinch, collared dove, dunnock, greenfinch, house sparrow, robin, song thrush
Niger seeds Goldfinch, siskin
Black sunflower seeds Blue tit, chaffinch, collared dove, goldfinch, great tit, greenfinch, house sparrow, siskin
Sunflower hearts Blackbird, blue tit, chaffinch, goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, greenfinch, house sparrow, long-tailed tit, robin, siskin, song thrush
Suet or fat balls Blackbird, blue tit, coal tit, dunnock, great tit, long-tailed tit, robin, starling, wren
Peanuts Blue tit, chaffinch, collared dove, dunnock, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, greenfinch, long-tailed tit, siskin
Mealworms Blackbird, blue tit, great tit, house sparrow, long-tailed tit, robins, song thrush, starling, wren
Fruit Blackbirds, fieldfare, redwing, robins, waxwings

Bird Nest Box Do’s

  • Do place the nest box facing north, north-east.
  • Give the birds a clear route to land and take off from the nest box.
  • Make sure you are close to a tree or shrub where the parent can land, and before you enter the nest box, make sure the coast is clear.
  • Do not disturb an active nest box and make as little noise as possible.
  • Continue providing fresh water and food for the birds for the working parents.

How to correctly site a nest box

When setting up your new nest box, there are a few guidelines you should follow to increase the likelihood that it will be adopted by wildlife. These are not hard and fast rules. Along with increasing the birds’ chances of successfully fledging their brood


Can you have two bird boxes in the one garden?

Most species of bird are territorial, so having too many nest boxes in one area can cause problems. Try to distribute them evenly around the garden, ensuring there are sufficient food sources availablefor each one.

How many nest boxes in a garden?

Number. The number of nestboxes which can be placed in a garden depends on the species you wish to attract. Many species are fiercely territorial, such as Blue Tits, and will not tolerate another pair close by. About 2-3 pairs per acre is the normal density for Blue Tits.

Can you put bird boxes close to each other?

Top tips for putting up your nest box Not too close to another nest box — nest boxes of the same type should not be sited too close together as this may promote aggressive behaviour between neighbours.

How far apart should you put nesting boxes?

In gardens a nest box can be hung on every second tree if there are few other nesting sites nearby. No minimum distance is required between the birds; two pairs of tits will happily breed right next to each other.