"Settle down on the sofa and ‘watch the box’" may not be the most romantic suggestion to make to a loved one on Valentine’s Day – but the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust hope to hear it resonate around the UK this year.
At a time when many are feeling the pinch and can ill afford to make grand gestures, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust are encouraging everyone to keep it simple and show their sensitive side by supporting National Nest Box Week (14 - 21 February), run by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
The Trust is holding special events at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve near Skegness and Far Ings National Nature Reserve near Barton, encouraging families to get involved in making homes for garden birds. The nest boxes, which could attract a wide number of species, should be erected in gardens and watched with pride as new tenants move in, have their own relationship dramas and, hopefully, breed.
Mary Porter Lincolnshire Wildlife Watch co-ordinator, said: "During National Nest Box week, we are echoing the BTO’s call to ‘get involved’ and asking people to make sure garden birds have plenty of homes this spring by putting up a nest box in their garden. But don’t forget, young birds are fed literally thousands of insects (mostly caterpillars) while in the nest. So if you are encouraging a feathered family into your garden you really must remember that this goes hand in hand with gardening for insects too."
Make sure your garden has flowers that attract insects such as bugle and primrose in Spring and in Summer: buddleia, lavender, any daisy-like flowers as long as they aren't double e.g. marigolds. Sunflowers are also good and later in the year; birds will feed on the seeds. Going chemical free in the garden will also be hugely beneficial.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Bird Box Events
Make a Bird Box with the Horncastle and Limewoods Wildlife Watch Group
Saturday 14 February, 10am - 12noon
Make a bird box with Ray Jacklin at Chambers Farm Wood.
£3.00 per box with Watch membership card, £6.00 non members. Booking is essential call 01526 399943.
Bird Boxes & Bird Cakes at Far Ings National Nature Reserve
Tuesday 17 February, 2pm - 4pm
Help the birds in your area by building them their own nest box and providing them with some much needed food in the late winter months.
£5 (including bird box to take home). Booking is essential call 01652 637055.
Build a Bird Box Day at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve
Wednesday 18 February, 11am - 3pm
Birds will soon by looking for a cosy place to nest. Give them a helping hand by making a bird box to put in your garden.
£6 per box. This is a drop in event, so there no need to book, just come along anytime between 11am and 3pm.
Make your own Bird Box
Nest boxes are easy to make and a great way to get your children and grandchildren involved with wildlife and conservation. Throughout the spring, you can watch the comings and goings of any birds that nest in your box. Factsheets with simple plans for a variety of boxes can be found on the Trust website or by sending an A5 stamped, self-addressed envelope marked "garden bird box factsheet", "nest boxes for larger birds", or "house sparrow terrace" (depending on which type of box you would like to make) to: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Banovallum House, Manor House Street, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 5HF
Buy a Bird Box
Nest boxes are available to buy from the Trust from Banovallum House in Horncastle, The Wildlife Gift Shop in Castle Square, Lincoln, Far Ings Visitor Centre near Barton and the Visitor Centre at Gibraltar Point.
The following designs are available:
- blue tit / coal tit
- robin / wren
- great tit / tree sparrow
- nesting pouches
Boxes for house sparrows, barn owls and tawny owls are available by special order from Banovallum House.