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Posts Tagged ‘Bird Boxes’

As I sat at my computer on Tuesday I was greeted by a lovely illustration on the Google page of a group of trees, their leaves turned golden brown and dropped to the ground this was to mark the first day of Autumn (23 September), it is funny that after all the beautiful, warm, sunny and dry weather we have had the weather changed on Tuesday it was definitely Autumnal the temperatures had dropped and it rained needless to say the central heating went on that evening for the first time in many months.

Autumn Leaf Mix

Spectacular Autumn Leaves

What is the Autumn Equinox and who/what decides when it is going to happen?

The Equinox occurs twice a year The Spring Equinox around 20th March and the Autumn Equinox around 22nd September the exact dates and times change every year. The word Equinox comes from the Latin words ‘aequus’ meaning equal and ‘nox’ meaning night, as they occur on the days when the days/nights are approximately equal in length, for us in the Northern hemisphere the sun will continue to rise later and set earlier giving us the shorter days and longer nights of Autumn whilst in the Southern Hemisphere (e.g. Australia) Spring is on its way.

The Autumn and Spring Equinoxes are actually Astrological events, Autumn occurs when the sun passes the equator moving from the northern to the southern hemisphere and the North Pole begins to tilt away from the Sun, Spring occurs when the sun passes the equator moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere and the North Pole begins to lean towards the sun again, anyone that lives in the South Pole will now be seeing the sun for the first time in half a year, whilst those that live in the North Pole will be preparing for six months of darkness.

How does the Autumn Equinox affect people, animals and plants?

Harvest time and the Harvest Festival traditionally falls around the Autumn Equinox when we celebrate, gather and store our crops; the shortening days prompt our wildlife too to store food and to fatten up on Autumn’s abundant fruit, nuts and seeds to see them through the winter months. As the weather turns cooler we put the heating on, wear warmer clothing and extra layers, animals prepare for the cold by growing thick winter coats, many species of birds migrate to warmer climates, the ones that remain grow extra feathers during late Autumn to give them more protection during Winter. Much of our wildlife will be looking for a warm and safe place to shelter or hibernate, now is an ideal time to install some homes for the creatures in your garden, such as Bee, Butterfly and Insect houses, Bird boxes, Hedgehog houses, Bat boxes and Frog and Toad houses.

Hedgehog Igloo House

The cosy Hedgehog Igloo House

Click on the links below for more information on:

Putting up Bird Boxes in your garden or Looking after garden wildlife during the winter.

Trees and plants prepare for winter, leaves change colour and drop off, plant stems die back, then they become dormant, living off the food that they have stored during the summer until the longer and warmer days of Spring return.

So put on an extra layer and see if you can spot any signs of Autumn

Gill

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Open Birch Log Nest Box

Open Birch Log Nest Box

Birds come in all shapes, sizes and colours and each one is as particular about where they live as we are. Every bird finds or builds a nest that is as unique as they are, but sometimes it is not always that simple, due to redevelopment and intensive farming many birds are losing their natural habits, making it harder for them to breed and leading to a decline in many species.

 Robin & Wren Nest Box

Robin & Wren Nest Box

To mark National Nest Box Week 14th – 21st February 2013 the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) are inviting individuals, families, schools, and community groups to put up Nest Boxes in their gardens or in their local area and provide a home for our birds.

Pembroke Nest Box

Pembroke Nest Box

If you haven’t got a Nest Box in your garden now is the ideal time to put one up although you can put up a nest box at any time of the year.

Open Fronted Ceramic Teapot Bird Nester

Open Fronted Ceramic Teapot Bird Nester

Nest boxes come in all shapes, sizes and colours too to cater for the needs of different birds, they can be bought ready built or why not build your own with a ‘Build your own Nest Box Kit’ this is a lovely thing to do with children and a great half term activity, Nest Boxes also make an unusual and wildlife friendly gift for any occasion so why not treat the birds in your garden this Valentines Day and show them that you care.

Build Your Own Nest Box

Build Your Own Nest Box Kit

Why not put up a House Martin Nest Box ready for the arrival of these delightful Summer Visitors.

House Martin Nest Box - Single Chamber

House Martin Nest Box

Gill

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At the moment our back garden is not very tranquil we have approximately 16 young Starlings and their parents visiting throughout the day, I can’t believe how much noise they make. They are very demanding and very naïve as are most of the birds that are newly fledged from nests or bird boxes. It is a very critical time for birds and their chicks, this warm weather really helps as it brings with it new hatchings of insects and caterpillars, perfect food for young birds, but a cold and wet spell can really affect the young and parent bird’s survival.

Starling Nest Box

I put bird food out every morning on the lawn and on the bird table, I am sure they must watch me through the kitchen window, waiting for me to come out, they are all very hungry, as soon as I’ve turned my back they are tucking in. The young Starlings (which look bigger than their parents) make me laugh they sit on the lawn surrounded by food and wait for their parents to feed them, which they dutifully do. The young birds are fascinated by the pond they keep climbing on the metal grid that we have over it, wobbling and falling in, they manage to get out quite easily though. The pond provides water for drinking and bathing which is very important especially during the warm weather if you haven’t a pond consider putting out a bird bath/water dish.

Provide water for the birds

In the evening, and a moment of calm after the birds had gone to bed, we were sat out in the garden when some large insects flew over they were ‘May Bugs’ also called Cockchafer Beetles or Melolontha melolontha. They are not a true bug but a large beetle and the largest species of Chafer Beetle in the UK. They are more commonly found in the South and appear on warm evenings from May to July, and are attracted to artificial light often coming indoors through open windows. ‘May Bugs’ may look a bit scary but they are harmless to humans. They are about 3cm in length with short feelers on their black head and a hairy body, with non hairy reddish-brown wing cases. The complete life-cycle from egg to adult takes about 3-4 years.

The grubs are considered a pest feeding underground on roots and they can destroy pastures and crops, you may have come across some of the grubs whilst digging, I have on my allotment and they are pretty horrible to look at. The grubs are ‘C’ shaped, have six legs and are white with reddish-brown heads, they hatch from eggs in about 5-6 weeks and can grow to 4 cm they will live for 3 years and then turn into a pupae and remain underground over winter to emerge as adult beetles the next year. The beetles only live for about a month but will mate and lay their eggs underground on roots before they die. The grubs are favourite food for Rooks, Crows and Gulls and the beetles are eaten by Owls and Bats.

Keep looking out for ‘May Bugs’ we found this one on the road; it was probably hit by a car.

May Bug

Love your Environment  (not sure about the ‘May Bug’ grubs!)

Gill

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This year between 14th – 21st February it is National Nest Box Week, this event is organised by the BTO to encourage people to put up nest boxes in their gardens schools, or local green spaces. It was launched in 1997 because birds natural nest sites were disappearing, as trees were being cut down, old houses were being repaired and gardens were being ‘tidied’. Since then it is estimated that between 5 – 6 million nest boxes have been put up by nature lovers across the U.K. By putting up nest boxes now you are giving the birds a chance to become familiar with them before the breeding season starts and also give them a safe place to roost at night.

There are different types of nest boxes available small or large boxes with holes, open fronted nest boxes, very large nest boxes, and community nest boxes each can attract different species of birds, so don’t just put up one box why not spoil the birds and put up a few different types.

If you are a serious bird watcher or a keen enthusiast the addition of a Wildlife Camera in your nest box would be invaluable, you can watch the birds from nest building to the young fledging, and in the comfort of your home.

To get the most out of your nest box, take part in Nest Box Challenge and help the BTO to monitor the breeding success of birds in Britain’s green spaces. To take part, simply register your nest box online and then give them regular updates on whether it is used, what birds are using it, and the progress of any nests.

Remember that any time of the year is a good time to put up a Nest Box.

As this event starts on Valentines Day and if you love birds why not treat them to a nest box or two!

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