Nest box

Bird nesting box in evening sun on back of big sycamore, polytunnel in the distance

Nest boxes on the north side of a Sycamore tree

Make a bird nesting box for your garden. All you need is 4½ feet of 6"x1" timber, a saw, half a dozen screws, a bit of old inner tube and a hole saw.

The whole point of a forest garden is that you are working with nature to grow edible crops. Birds are a critical part of your ecosystem, eating all sorts of insects (as well as the occasional bit of soft fruit). You can encourage them into your garden by creating nest boxes.

Plan of bird nesting box

Encourage birds into your garden with a nesting box!

You can download this nest box plan as a PDF file.

Be sure to site the nest box facing away from the prevailing wind, in as secluded and sheltered spot as possible, out of the reach of cats and other predators.

The plan is adapted from the RSPB, really to help my perforated memory. It’s just a 4½ feet of 6"x1" plan, or 140cm length of 15cm x 2cm in metric. Use untreated Larch, as it’s durable and won’t contain chemicals.

Hole saw drill bit

Hole saw drill bit with pilot drill, photo by Emrys2 on Wikimedia

What you do need is a hole saw for drilling the hole. Different species like different sized holes:

  • 25mm for coal tits, marsh tits and blue tits
  • 28mm for great tits and tree sparrows
  • 32mm for nuthatches and house sparrows

Thank you RSPB for all the information.