Several nest boxes were put up in each of our woods in January 2016 and while nesting activity had been noticed in some of the boxes during the last summer, most were quite hard to see once the trees were in leaf. The first work party of 2018 was a chance for our small team to survey all of them and see which of them had evidence of being used over the past two summers.
As the days now begin to lengthen, Blue and Great Tits will begin to explore available nest sites, so this was an opportunity to look into the boxes before the birds get serious about finding a nest site. Of the 9 tit boxes we had put up 8 had nest material in them. This does not necessarily mean that broods had been raised, as not all nests constructed go on to be used, but it is a good sign of the interest shown in our boxes by potential nesters. The nest material from one box is shown being held by Catriona, and, as is typical of blue-tits, consists mostly of mosses with some soft hair, probably from combed out dog hair left on the pathways.
Of the three robin boxes, two also had nest material in them.
Altogether a very pleasing sign of the reward for all the efforts to make and put up the boxes in 2016 and an indication of a shortage of natural tree hole nest sites. It is hoped that in 2018 we will try and see which birds are making use of the boxes.