Whimsical, wacky, colorful and ornamental nest boxes are dangerous for young birds warns the British RSPB
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The current trend for brightly-colored and inappropriate kind of nest boxes that has taken hold over the past five years with wacky and ornamental boxes, such as ones in the shape of windmills and caravans, that put style over substance, endangers young birds according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Such brightly-colored, and strangely shaped, boxes could make baby birds more conspicuous to predators such as cats and squirrels, it said, urging shoppers to buy traditional wooden boxes instead.
Other boxes to avoid include those made from unusual materials such as ceramics, which might make boxes too cold for nesting birds, and metal ones which might overheat the birds inside on hot days or harm them on their way in and out.
Eventually such a nest box will contain tiny helpless, vulnerable baby birds and therefore the appearance of the box should be the last think on anyone's mind.
Over the last five years or so there has been an increase of of places selling such brightly-colored and otherwise unsuitable nest boxes as there appears to be an emphasis on people's gardens becoming more ornamental and, it must be said, that the RHS with shows such as Chelsea and Hampton Court, where many of those vendors have been in evidence, and where such whimsical nest boxes have also featured in show gardens, certainly has not helped.
Instead of buying such kind of boxes, people should opt for classic wooden boxes with a v-shaped roof that are waterproofed, perch-free and with the right size holes to keep predators out. If consumers did want to opt for an ornamental box then they should block up the holes to stop birds getting in. But generally the people want both; funky nest boxes and nesting birds in their gardens. Those two do not mix.
Nest boxes play an essential role as a stand-in for holes in trees and hedgerows for garden birds such as blue tits, robins and house sparrows.
It is also very easy to build nest boxes and many instructions can be found on line. Consider the birds before buying those colored and whimsical boxes please.